Sludge investigated by council

Thick, oozy grey/black sludge coming from a stormwater drain opposite nearby homes and draining into paddocks was investigated by Bega Valley Shire Council this week.

The sludge was brought to the attention of the Magnet by Clyde Thomas of Kiah, who owns the property near the intersection of Story Avenue and George Brown Street, onto which the sludge is visibly draining.

After the Magnet forwarded photos of the sludge to council, they undertook to investigate the matter and report back to the community.

Mr Thomas was very concerned when he first became aware of what he describes as “toxic looking” sludge draining onto his property on Sunday.

“There’s a heap of it,” he said.

“The whole drain is chock a block full of it. It’s bursting through the wetlands there, into my stock dam, then through to Palestine Creek.

“It’s absolutely horrible.

“I haven’t been down there after a big rain in the past and I’ve never seen it like this.

“I’m doing my utmost down there to keep the area pristine and clean.

It beggars belief that this has been allowed to happen. The sludge in that creek has to be seen to be believed. I know it’s not naturally occurring,” Mr Thomas said.

Council was quick to respond on Monday to the Magnet’s request for some answers to questions about the nature of the sludge and its origins.

“We are currently investigating the appearance of discoloured water at a location in Eden, and we will take appropriate action if a breach of environmental laws has been made.

“The outcome of our investigation will be relayed to the community,” group manager for planning and environment, Andrew Woodley said.

Yesterday afternoon (Wednesday), Council was able to report the early results of their investigations.

“Investigators have determined the discoloured water is a consequence of a blocked outlet leading to a local sawmill’s detention ponds.  

“The water, containing high tannin levels, is usually held within the detention pond, but the blocked outlet has seen it flow into the local environment. 

“Council has instructed the sawmill owner to pump the water back into its detention pond, and as the site is managed by the EPA the onus is now on the owner to report the incident. 

“If the incident is not reported, Council will proceed with informing the EPA, who will then take over as the managing authority,” manager of health and building services, Jeff Tipping said.

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