Diesel dump ends in river

TREATED effluent was released into the Brunswick River at Mullumbimby earlier this month after contamination was detected at the Brunswick Valley Sewage Treatment Plant.

Byron Shire council's executive manager for water and recycling Phil Warner said the effluent had to be released because diesel was illegally discharged into the treatment plant on February 14.

"All of the diesel was treated within the sewage treatment plant. The discharge is treated effluent which at the end of the sewage treatment plan process is reused on agricultural properties or released into the river system," Mr Warner said.

The effluent is treated using microbes, and Mr Warner said it was fortunate the discharge of diesel didn't permanently damager the treatment process.

"The impact of the diesel meant the micro organisms in the sewaage treatment plant had to overcome the toxic effect of the diesel and there was always the risk that had the illegal discharge been larger, then short-term recovery may not have been possible," Mr Warner said.

Councillor Richard Staples said the EPA was informed and the council was investigating the incident.

"There were three pump stations there but staff was able to pin it down to pump station number 4003," Cr Staples said. "It's a serious offence so it would need a high level of proof to sustain a conviction so it's important we can trace it."



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