Bega Valley Shire Council is proposing to upgrade the Merimbula Sewage Treatment Plant (STP).
Bega Valley Shire Council is taking action. Advice from the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) and the community is the existing beach-face outfall and dunal exfiltration ponds at Merimbula Sewage Treatment Plant are not sustainable. Council is working with AECOM to develop a concept design and environmental assessment for a deep ocean outfall and upgrade of the STP.
This long-term investment will improve the water quality of our iconic coastal environment.
Sewage from Merimbula and Pambula is treated at Merimbula STP. The treated sewage, or effluent, needs to be reused or disposed. We reuse as much effluent as possible for irrigation at Pambula Merimbula Golf Course and farmland at Oaklands. The remaining effluent is disposed using either the:
Originally the outfall extended out into the ocean and beyond the waves, but it was destroyed by a large storm in the 1970s. Since then, the beach-face outfall (pictured on the front of this newsletter) has been discharging effluent at the fore dunes at the centre of Merimbula Beach.
The beach-face outfall and dunal exfiltration ponds have caused community concern around their impact on the aquatic environment and public health. The EPA required Council to investigate better disposal options. To do this, Council and a community focus group reviewed a full range of options before agreeing a deep ocean outfall is the preferred effluent disposal option. Compared to other options the deep ocean outfall has:
The next step is to develop a concept design and environmental assessment of the deep ocean outfall and upgrade of the STP. Council is working with engineering consultants AECOM. We aim to finish this process by 2019.
To prepare the concept design and environmental assessment we must:
After approval, Council will be able to seek funding for detailed design and construction.
Council will create a community working group (CWG) of representative local community members. They will work with the project team to assess options for upgrading the STP and select an alignment for the deep ocean outfall.