Thursday, May 30, 2024

Bega begins water smoke testing

Bega Valley Shire Council has announced it will soon commence sewer and stormwater smoke testing in parts of the shire.

Council says the scheduled testing of approximately 700 homes will help to identify sewerage system faults and properties with stormwater plumbing connected to Council’s sewer network.

Council’s Acting Water and Sewerage Services Manager, Steve Marshall said the underlying reason to conduct smoke testing was to prevent future sewer spills in the area.

“Smoke testing is very effective at pinpointing problems in our sewerage network, including households with a non-compliant stormwater connection,” Mr Marshall said.

“Contractors pump non-toxic smoke into the local sewerage network, which emerges at various places where problems may be present.

“For example, if there is a cracked pipe or failing seal, smoke will be visible. Contractors will compile a report of where smoke has emerged, and we will conduct repairs if required.

“We will also be looking for smoke emerging from household stormwater infrastructure, like downpipes and gully traps. If this is seen it indicates a potentially non-compliant connection to our sewerage system.”

Council’s Environmental Health Coordinator, Myfanwy Appleton said the testing was crucial to prevent impacts from avoidable sewer spills.

“An unknown number of properties in the Bega Valley currently have their stormwater plumbing connected to the sewerage network,” Ms Appleton said.

“Picture the run-off from potentially hundreds of rooftops inundating a system designed to carry only sewerage and grey water. This is the situation we have during storm events.

“A sewer carrying beyond its capacity can spill into the local environment and waterways, creating public health risks, serious environmental impacts and losses for local marine and lake industries.

“Owners of properties where a non-compliant connection is found will be contacted and provided with details of what needs to be done to rectify the problem within a given timeframe.

“We understand some people will be unaware of a potentially non-compliant sewer connection on their property, but as owners they are responsible under the NSW Local Government Act to rectify the problem using a registered plumber,” she said.

Smoke testing is scheduled to commence in low-lying parts of Bega on Monday 17 October. Residents have been notified via letterbox drop and are not required to take any steps to prepare, Council said.

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