Calls for action over alleged creek pollution
A RESIDENT is calling for action to save Nimbin's creeks from "being blatantly polluted each year by the local pool."
When Nimbin's Rachel Scott noticed the main tributary of Mulgum Creek running through her property had turned white, she took matters into her own hands and went went to investigate. She discovered the Lismore City Council owned Nimbin Pool was "pumping their water straight out into the creek with loads of 'concrete dust' as the pool surface is coming off".
"They called it concrete dust, but it's plaster, concrete dust, paint and chlorine residue," Miss Scott said.
"Any life in the creek would likely have suffocated with gills full of the fine sediment. I think we can work for a solution with council ... it's time we started to stand up for the creeks and recognise the value of our waterways right here in town."
Of equal concern to Miss Scott and other landowners was a pile of blue 'dust' sitting on the other creek bank which was now entering the smaller tributary. This pile of waste material next to the pool's filter has been since covered with a tarp.
"The pool does this every year," she said.
"The tarp is useless, if it rains it will leak straight into the catchment from ground level."
Miss Scott said the issue was ongoing and the 'concrete dust' was now filtering down the creek and backing up in sections, with the worst of it collecting about 100 metres up the tributary.
"Both tributaries are being adversely affected due to low flow levels," she said.
"The toxic materials and suspended stuff builds up in the bends of the creek. Eventually with rains, it washes more or less downstream but with dry periods things hang round longer."
Upon approaching a Nimbin Pool representative about organising a sediment filter, Ms Scott alleges she was abused. She has since written to council expressing her concern.
"I would like council to at least put in sediment filters," she said.
"Not doing this at all would be better ... I want them to remove that pile of blue dust and for them to say it's not going to happen again.
"The damage done should also be remediated."
She said she would contact the New South Wales Environment Protection Authority to further investigate the issue.
"I'm feeling positive because there is a lot of community support behind this issue," she said.
A Lismore City Council Spokeswoman said council has been to the site on Friday morning to investigate and view work by contractors who were fixing the pool.
"Council always investigates issues of non-compliance that are reported as environmental non-compliance is taken very seriously," the spokeswoman said.
"It appears a small amount of rainwater collected in the bottom of the pool was inadvertently pumped into a stormwater pipe by contractors.
"This may have caused turbidity in the water and caused the creek to look murky or discoloured. Council has directed contractors to discharge all further wastewater that collects in the pool directly into the sewer or onto grassed areas. There is a small pile of concrete rubble from the construction near the pool pump house, which is covered by a tarp. Council has investigated, is happy that the waste is contained appropriately and there is no apparent leaching."
They spokeswoman said Council Environmental Compliance Officers have been to the site, taken photos and inspected works.
"No breaches were occurring at the time of inspection," the spokeswoman said.
She said concerned residents were welcome to provide photos or other evidence to support the alleged claims or to contact the EPA to investigate further.