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A letter from the Eurobodalla Mayor regarding Brou Tip


Dated March 6th, 2017 Mr Lei Parker Editor South Coast Beagle Pty Ltd Dear Lei A few weeks ago, you and I met, along with members of Council’s management team, and I gave you my commitment as Mayor to continuously strive towards greater openness and transparency, and to endeavour to build relationships built on mutual trust through all levels of council and the community. I am honouring my commitment, and in doing so would like to address some misinformation and speculation regarding allegations of contamination associated with Brou waste management facility. I trust you will publish this letter in The Beagle. NSW EPA clearly states there is no evidence that the waste facility is polluting the local waterways of Whittakers Creek or Brou Lake. Claims that Brou waste management facility is contaminating the surrounding environment are unsubstantiated. At the EPA briefing organised by Council in Narooma last month, The Beagle saw and heard senior representatives from the EPA present detailed results showing there is no evidence of contamination from the Brou waste management facility. EPA representatives also explained the results of the adjacent landowner’s independently tested water samples against the correct guidelines. For the benefit of your readers, here is the EPA’s media release stating the water samples tested are non-toxic to the local environment http://www.epa.nsw.gov.au/epamedia/EPAMedia17020603.htm At the same meeting, NSW Fisheries advised that the fish kill was most likely the result of low oxygen levels in the water. The meeting heard that this type of event is not uncommon during prolonged hot weather, as witnessed recently in a number of local waterways. The landowner has been invited to meet with Council and EPA to discuss his concerns, including alleged contamination and cattle deaths, and as yet he hasn’t taken up that offer. It is not Council’s responsibility or within its jurisdiction to supply the landowner with an ‘all clear’ that his property is not contaminated. Council does not know what past or present activities or practices have occurred on the property that could have caused contamination. What we do know is that testing of discharges and regular testing at Brou waste management facility indicate that the site is not a cause of contamination. Council staff have already undertaken to be ‘good neighbours’ and go beyond the EPA license requirements to advise adjoining landowners when there is an overtopping of the leachate pond. This commitment was made following the heavy rains in June last year and is now part of Council procedure. Council tests its landfill sites quarterly and the results are sent to the EPA and posted on Council’s website. Test point 4 at Brou waste management facility is a surface water test that can only be tested when there is surface water, which only occurs after heavy rain. After the overtopping last June, and outside of Council’s required testing regime, we did test point 4 because there was surface water to test. Those tests were provided to EPA and have been considered by them and support their position as outlined in their media release, that is, the landfill is not a source of contamination. The relevant authorities will continue to undertake the appropriate testing, and will attempt to liaise further with the landowner to address any concerns he may have. Until further testing and results are finalised, I respectfully request that you closely monitor the airing of past grievances, as speculation can be unproductive and futile. We all want the same thing, and that is a healthy environment. This Council has consistently stated that if there are issues at Brou waste management facility, they will be addressed. As Eurobodalla’s Mayor, I absolutely refute any allegations of collusion between Eurobodalla Council and the EPA. This kind of disingenuous talk only serves to undermine a NSW Government regulatory authority that does issue fines and can take actions against councils that breach licence requirements. Unqualified commentary and speculation about test results and Council’s compliance with licencing conditions is unhelpful and impacts adversely on the community, the image of the Eurobodalla and people who rely on Brou Lake and other waterways for their living. Yours sincerely Councillor Liz Innes Mayor and signed by the Mayor


Above: Mayor Innes

Editors Note: This letter is a statement and in good faith comments have been closed below. Also, in good faith, until further testing and results are finalised comments regarding Brou Tip in other threads will be carefully monitored and deleted without explanation if considered to be the airing of past grievances, speculation or are unproductive and futile.

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