‘Children swim in this’: Concern over recycled waste water plan

27/08/2018 Posted by admin

Catherine Hill Bay beach in 2015. Picture: Max Mason-HubersA residents group is up in arms about an application to send treated waste water from a Catherine Hill Bay housing estate to a lagoon atthe village’s popular beach.
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While Catherine Hill Bay Progress Association says the plan will mean treated effluentis pumped into the public waterway, the company behind the proposal says the product will be “recycledwater” that could be usedfor laundry, watering produce and flushing toilets.

Solo Water’s applicationis open for submissionson the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal’s website until May 9.

Read more:Catherine Hill Bay housing approved (2011)

Catherine Hill Bay Progress Association president Sue Whyte is leading the opposition to the plan, which she says would put treated effluent a popular recreation area.

“This variation cannot be allowed on health, hygiene and environmental grounds,” she said.

“Children swim in this, particularly when the surf is rough and too dangerous.This is the patrolled beach,people come from Summerland Point, Munmorah, Chain ValleyBay, Nords Wharf, Murrays Beach to swim–this is their beach.

“[The application is]saying this lagoon that forms on the beach is open to the sea approximately 73 per cent of the time–honestly, this year it hasn’t even opened.”

Brad Irwin, an environmental engineer enlisted by Solo Water, said theschemerepresented“industry best practice”in wastewater management and water recycling.

Mr Irwin said the product would be“recycled water”, not treated effluent.

“This high-quality recycled water is supplied back to homes in the scheme for laundry washing, irrigation, watering vegetables and fruits, outdoor cleaning and toilet flushing,” he said.

Read more: Catho land sells for more than $1 million (2015)

“During wet periods when homes cannot recycle all their own water, the surplus recycled water is returned to the environment in a sustainable manner, through a purpose-built constructed wetland, and timed to supplement natural environmental flows.

“The Review of Environmental Factors prepared by independentexperts for government approval has demonstrated that the proposal will not result in significant impactson water quality in the creek or beach at Catherine Hill Bay.”

Lake Macquarie mayor Kay Fraser said council was preparing a submission in response to the plan anddid not want to pre-empt the city’s position.

But she said council hadpreviouslyexpressed concerns in 2015when Solo Water applied to funnel“treated effluent”ontovacantland reserved for future developmentbecause it“was not a long-term solution for the disposal of effluent and could compromise public health and safety”.

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