Work on the new $25 million Brunswick Valley sewage treatment plant is expected to start next month, with Byron Council awarding the tender for the project to Brisbane-based civil contracting company, Fulton Hogan.
The plant is expected to be completed and connected to the sewer system next year.
The council's director of water and recycling management services, Phil Warner, said the new plant, to be built on council-owned land at the end of Vallances Road in Mullumbimby, would result in better wastewater management practices in the Mullumbimby and Brunswick Heads areas and improved water quality in the Brunswick River estuary.
Mr Warner said the treated effluent from the new plant would be available to the Main Arm Irrigation Scheme for dairy pasture irrigation and would significantly reduce the amount of fresh water drawn from creeks for irrigation.
He said the plant site also played an important ecological role in the Brunswick Valley, forming part of an important wildlife corridor that connected the coastal floodplains with the sub-coastal hinterland.
Recent surveys revealed the site had at least 133 terrestrial invertebrate species inhabiting the site. This included 104 bird species (two threatened), 13 mammal species (three threatened), nine frog species and seven reptile species, Mr Warner said.
With 4.5 kilometres of riparian riverbank vegetation, including the Brunswick River and billabongs, the area was a significant ecological zone and provided an important fish habitat leading into the Cape Byron Marine Reserve.
Mr Warner said works already undertaken at the site included cattle exclusion fencing, reinstating billabong tidal inundation and tree planting.
“Council in conjunction with grants and subsidies from the New South Wales Department of Water and Energy, Envirotrust, NSW Department of Primary Industries Fisheries Conservation Unit and the Federal Government Community Water Fund are committed to protecting and restoring the ecological qualities at the site,” he said.
Mullumbimby and Brunswick Heads are now served by plants at Mullumbimby and Brunswick Heads built in the 1960s and which will be shut down when the new plant is operational.
Other sections of the scheme include construction of the road to the new plant which will be completed next month.
Construction of pipelines and pump stations associated with the scheme is scheduled to be awarded in April and built by the end of the year.
• Further information can be obtained from the Brunswick Area Sewerage Augmentation Scheme hotline on 02 6626 7321.
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