Dam close to a disaster
By Janelle McLennan
LORRAINE Osmond fears one day the water reservoir above her home in Lennox Street, Casino will come crashing down the slope in a calamity reminiscent of the Thredbo ski lodge disaster.
Her concerns come after about one mega litre of water overflowed from the 70-year-old South Casino reservoir early on Saturday morning following a malfunction in its telemetry systems.
As a result of the system failure, water continued to be pumped into the reservoir even after it was full.
"Living under the reservoir is like living under a dam wall," Mrs Osmond said.
"We need to know for certain the alarm systems are adequate and that they are working properly.
"And, does the council know there's been no structural damage to the reservoir?"
The overflow water would normally have escaped through an enclosed drain which runs underground from the reservoir into the Richmond River, according to Richmond Valley Council's operations engineer David Holstein.
Because the drain was blocked by a tree root, water backed up into an old water tank underneath the existing reservoir. It eventually overflowed, running into neighbouring properties and down Stapleton Avenue.
Mr Holstein said the reservoir had not been damaged by the overflow and, as far as he was aware, neither had any of the neighbouring properties.
He dismissed claims the overflow could lead to a Thredbo-like landslide, saying it had reportedly been caused by underground water seepage.
"The overflow was only surface water," he said.
However, Mrs Osmond is not convinced that the reservoir is safe. If the telemetry systems and alarms could fail once, they could fail again, she said.