BEACHES close to the mouth of the Clarence River at Yamba will be no-go zones for swimmers for at least another week says Clarence Valley Council general manager Scott Greensill.
Mr Greensill, who was trapped in Yamba during the latest flood crisis, has been co-ordinating the council clean-up of the beaches, which began on Saturday morning.
He said Turners Beach had been cleared of rubbish, but Main, Convent and Pippi beaches were still covered by a carpet of debris.
He said there were logistical problems slowing the work at Main and Convent beaches.
"Because of the problems with access at Main Beach we can only use small trucks to carry debris away from the beach to a tree-refuse depot inland," Mr Greensill said.
"It might be two or three days before we get the beach back to the way it normally looks."
"At Convent Beach there is no vehicular access so were we're going to trial some methods for moving debris from there tomorrow." He said where the debris did not cause problems some of it might be left in place.
The beaches are likely to remain unsafe for swimmers after the debris is gone because of health risks.
"People need to remember the quality of the water is not going to be great for a while," he said.
"We've had issues with dead animals being washed up on beaches and there's going to be a risk of bacterial infections for some time yet."
Mr Greensill said the unprecedented dumping of debris on Yamba's beaches was brought about by a freakish number of coincidences.
"There was the heavy rain in all the tributaries of the Clarence River, which washed a huge amount of debris into the river system," he said.
"When this debris hit the river mouth there was a 4-5m swell with a 100kmh north-easterly behind it blowing it straight back on the closest point, which happened to be the beaches at Yamba."
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