Tweed Shire Council staff are responding to a sewer break near the intersection of Gollan Drive and Lakes Drive in Tweed Heads West.
Members of the public are advised to avoid contact with the water in the canal that runs parallel to Jacaranda Drive south from Lakes Drive until further notice.
At 9.55am on September 25, the sewer pumping main partially failed. Staff responded immediately to isolate the break and divert flows through another pipeline, to restore flows to the Banora Point Wastewater Treatment Plant by 10.30am.
Council sandbagged adjacent stormwater inlets to contain the sewage by 10:15am and used a tanker to collect and transport it to an unaffected part of the sewerage system.
However, a quantity of raw sewage has entered the southern canal near Lakes Drive, through the stormwater system.
Council has begun water sampling within the surrounding area, in accordance with Council’s incident management plan, to determine the spill’s impact on the canal and the adjacent Terranora Broadwater.
The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) and operators of nearby oyster farms have been notified and Council will continue to liaise with these groups.
Council has a responsibility to notify the EPA of incidents causing or threatening to harm the environment as soon as Council becomes aware of the incident, to ensure the appropriate agencies have the information they need to respond within an appropriate time.
‘No swimming’ signs have been erected along the canal between Jacaranda Avenue and Gollan Drive south of Lakes Drive.
Council’s Manager Water and Wastewater, Anthony Burnham, said people were advised to avoid contact with the water in that area until a further announcement was made by Council to confirm water quality had returned to safe levels.
Mr Burnham said the pipe diversion had restored sewerage services to Tweed Heads West and the priority now was monitoring the effects and keeping the community informed.
The damaged rising main is being assessed so repairs can be carried out with work expected to be completed by September 26.