Tweed water department under pressure
THREE major infrastructure disasters have forced the Tweed Shire Council to re-evaluate its plan for water security.
The combination of the March floods, the tidal anomaly in August that caused salt water to enter Bray Park Weir and the discovery of e-coli in the Terranora Inlet last week has left the council's water and wastewater department calling on councillors to deliver a clear action plan for staff to carry out.
The council's engineering director, David Oxenham, said his department has been tasked with three major projects - the raising of Clarrie Hall Dam, fixing the Bray Park Weir and a review of the shire's water augmentation.
"We need to prioritise, we can't do everything at once,” he said.
"We've got the Clarrie Hall Dam stuff, we've got to do that and the Bray Park Weir is a priority, but the water augmentation review can happen at a later date.”
Mr Oxenham said his department was working on ways to improve their processes to minimise future impacts.
"We'll look at what controls we can put in place,” he said.
"For instance, with the tidal anomaly, we're getting better data now and better predictions from the Manly Hydraulics lab and the Bureau of Meteorology.”
Meanwhile, the council on Thursday lifted its restrictions on using the Terranora Inlet after raw sewage was discharged into the estuary from the effluent lagoon last week.
"The impacts have been relatively minor but nonetheless in our minds it's a significant issue and those sorts of things we need to avoid,” Mr Oxenham said.
Birds Bay Oyster Farm spokesperson Matthew Eyre said the contamination scare forced his farm to close for three weeks but all tests have come back negative for e-coli.
"We won't lose anything,” he said, explaining the farm worked closely with the Department of Primary Industries and the council.
"We're just wary because we want to protect our industry as much as possible and we'll do whatever it takes.”
During Thursday's meeting, council rejected CrJames Owen's request to rescind the March decision to conduct a water augmentation review.