Council reveals what happened to missing sewage samples
There is now more clarity as to why several weeks worth of sewage monitoring data from the Byron Shire was missing.
One missing week in December was accounted for by the fact Byron Shire Council staff froze a sample taken between December 16 and 22.
“This happened after the courier failed to pick up the sample and staff put it in the freezer,” the council said in a statement.
“Unfortunately the frozen sample could not be used and council apologises for this error.”
But there had been question marks about the remaining three weeks which had not been included in NSW Health reports.
“In discussions with the Sydney Water laboratory (on Tuesday) as to why the other three test results were not available on the NSW Health website, it was revealed that there were problems with the courier delivery process after the samples were collected from council.
“One sample froze during delivery to the laboratory,” the council said.
The remaining two samples could not be used because of “unexpected delays with the couriers”.
This resulted in those samples being above the specified temperature when they were delivered to the lab.
“In order to rectify the logistic issues associated with collection and delivery of these samples, council has been working with the Sydney Water Laboratory and NSW Health and is now using a different courier service to ensure samples reach the lab in a suitable state for testing,” the council said.
“Council understands how important it is for the community to have faith that all is being done to stem the spread of COVID-19, especially during busy holiday times.”
The council has meanwhile welcomed confirmation from health authorities that no fragment of the COVID-19 virus was found in the most recent testing of the shire’s sewage samples.
NSW Health confirmed the result, from a sample collected on December 30, on Tuesday afternoon.