Surfers hit the wave as the mouth of Mooball Creek becomes unblocked.
Surfers hit the wave as the mouth of Mooball Creek becomes unblocked.

Bodyboarders hit the surf as Mooball Creek gets unblocked

UPDATE 12PM:

SURFERS determined not to miss out on a good wave are taking full advantage of a rush of water streaming from the mouth of the Mooball Creek, after Tweed Shire Council successfully unblocked a build up of silt.

Pottsville local and engineer Richard Todd said he saw the group of young bodyboarders braving the raging current as water poured through the mouth of the river. 

"The surfers were in there for about 15 minutes and then the council people advised them to hop out the creek," Mr Todd said. 

 

"From my perspective, the council did a pretty good job. The release was fairly controlled once they had actually started the release and it just increased gradually until it reached the maximum flow rate."

Council diggers have been working since 6am to unblock the sand causing a backlog of water further up the creek. 

More than 50 residents gathered at the mouth of the creek to watch the diggers in action, with many photos shared on social media praising the work.

Council's General Manger Troy Green said it was important the works were not rushed so as to avoid potentially killing any fish or causing further damage to the ecosystem. 

EARLIER: 

MOOBALL Creek should be back to normal in no time, according to Tweed Shire Council General Manager Troy Green.

Council officers were down at the mouth of the creek from 6am today to work on removing a blockage of sand that's caused flooding problems and bacteria build up across the creek system.

The attempt to open up the creek - which has silted up with sand in recent weeks - comes after significant rainfall in the Tweed catchment has seen waterways across the shire swell.

Latest rainfall figures from the Bureau of Meteorology show 101mm of rain recorded at the Upper Rous River (Hopkins Creek) guage in the 24 hours to 9am today, with Doon Doon recording 97mm followed by Numbinbah on 84mm.

Mr Green told the Tweed Daily News this morning's work should hopefully fix the problem without causing too much damage to the natural ecosystem of the creek.

"We've got machinery down there today pushing sand away to let the water out," Mr Green said

"The creek with the level of water it is today is such that hopefully when we move the sand the water will go through and it'll flush it through and scour the sand out.

 

Tweed Shire Council is working on repairing Mooball Creek.
Tweed Shire Council is working on repairing Mooball Creek. Richard Todd

"We've been monitoring the water daily and working with Crown Lands and Fisheries to make sure this was done right and at the right time."

Angered by council's slow response, many residents took to social media suggesting the community should get their shovels out and dig the sand away.

Residents, particularly those living in Pottsville's canal estates, have also been complaining online about the rising creek tides almost lapping at their back doors.

Tweed roads closed due to flooding

Community fears flood risks as Mooball Creek remains blocked

Council monitoring water safety levels at blocked creek

But Mr Green said it was imperative the right precautions were put in place to avoid a major catastrophe or fish kill.

"We understand there was a lot of cause for people to take the water out earlier in the week but if we would have done that with the tides, the Department of Fisheries advised us it could have killed everything in the system," Mr Green said.

 

Pottsville local Matt Bahnsen watches on as diggers try to open Mooball Creek.
Pottsville local Matt Bahnsen watches on as diggers try to open Mooball Creek. Richard Todd

"We could have let the water out but there would have been no salt water coming back in and then we could have killed everything in the system, not only to the health of the fish but human health wouldn't have been good.

"This is a natural process, this would have happened for thousands of years and there would have been times throughout history where the creek would have closed naturally until the next big flood.

"The last time we had this event was in 2006, council went in there a little bit too early and that resulted in an $110,000 fine."

Mr Green said he was "pretty confident" today's works would solve the creek problem.

 

Tweed Shire Council is working on repairing Mooball Creek.
Tweed Shire Council is working on repairing Mooball Creek. Richard Todd

"We're pretty confident when we flush this out today we won't have the kill of the system," he said.

"A lot the land on that flood plain is acid sulphate soil, so if we had let the water out of the creek mouth we would have had acid sulphate soil from the upper catchment coming down the river and that's what would have killed the fish.

"It would have been very acidic and there would be very little oxygen which is what would have killed the fish.

"We're hoping (today's work) would flush it and that would be it but if we have to go back in tomorrow we will."



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