Farmers given 'no notice' of human waste, raw sewage spill

OH POO: Raw effluent has spilled into Quart Pot Creek. INSET: Chris Wren was not warned of the spillage.
OH POO: Raw effluent has spilled into Quart Pot Creek. INSET: Chris Wren was not warned of the spillage. Liana Turner

FOOD crops in Stanthorpe have been put at risk of being irrigated with raw effluent.

It's understood at least 100,000 litres of untreated wastewater containing human waste spilled into Stanthorpe's Quart Pot Creek in two incidents on Tuesday.

If it wasn't for the rain, farmers downstream could have been using raw effluent on our veges.

Broccolini farmer Chris Wren said as of yesterday afternoon, no-one from the council had contacted him about the spill.

While there were pollution warning signs erected at the West Rd causeway, Mr Wren said this was not a common route for him and he was not warned.

Mr Wren said they had received 100mL of rain in recent days and would likely not be looking to irrigate from the creek soon, but he said the spillage could have dire implications for nearby farms.

Mr Wren said he would push for the Southern Downs Regional Council to foot the bill for water testing.

"There's no way in the world I'm going to be out of pocket to test the water, that's for sure," he said.

"It'll certainly be council's place to (conduct testing)."


Chris Wren on his Stanthorpe brocollini farm.
Chris Wren on his Stanthorpe brocollini farm. Liana Turner

The council's director of engineering services Peter See said the two spills were caused by illegal stormwater pipelines.

"This is largely due to a high number of illegal stormwater connections into the sewer," Mr See said.

"Council will commence investigation shortly into these illegal connections and will be issuing notices.

"The environmental authority has been notified."

The council erected warning signs for the polluted area, including at Quart Pot Creek on West Rd yesterday morning.

The Border Post attempted to contact Strawberry Fields, which is also close to the section of polluted creek.

A Department of Heritage and Environmental Protection spokesman said they received a notification of the release on Tuesday and an investigation was now under way.

Topics:  darling downs editors picks effluent farmers stanthorpe toowoomba warwick

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