Bega Valley Shire Council is taking action. Advice from the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) and the community is the existing beach-face outfall and dunal exfiltration ponds at Merimbula Sewage Treatment Plant are not sustainable. Council is working with AECOM to develop a concept design and environmental assessment for a deep ocean outfall and upgrade of the STP.
We are continuing our work on this long-term investment that will improve the water quality of our iconic coastal environment, from the beaches to the lakes.
In November 2017, we introduced the project to the community to explain the project process and better understand your concerns. We did this through drop-in community information sessions and briefing sessions for key stakeholders. Thanks to everyone who gave us valuable feedback. We will use this to help develop the concept design.
Our community working group (CWG) is using your feedback to help select the location of the ocean outfall. The CWG first met in December and they will be visiting the STP site this month to better understand the plant’s current condition. They’ll meet again in March to continue assessing the possible location of the ocean outfall.
This month we’re doing our second dye dispersion test in the bay. We did our first test in August 2017. By testing at different times of year, we can get information on how currents behave in different water temperatures. To do this, we release a harmless, bright red fluorescent dye into the water at several locations. This shows our designers how waterborne materials travel and spread in the bay’s currents.
This March, we’ll have another round of drop-in community information sessions and briefing sessions for key stakeholders. At these sessions we’ll be able to give you more detail on the investigations we’ve done and the progress of the CWG.
We look forward to seeing you then!
We’re continuing fieldwork to gather more information about Merimbula Bay. This will help our project team develop location options for the deep ocean outfall and STP upgrade.
Starting this week, we are doing hydrographic surveys. This means scientists in boats will be measuring the physical parts of the bay like water depth, surface of the seabed and the shoreline.
Throughout October and November, we surveyed the marine ecology in the bay to better understand habitats and refine existing maps of the area. We used underwater videos at selected locations to identify habitats and groups of fish. Abalone fishing is vital to the economy of the area. We included specific surveys to assess the abundance of abalone in shallow sub tidal reef areas.
In early September, we did flora and fauna surveys to list the different plants and animals in the area between the STP and Merimbula Bay. This information will help us understand the area’s variety of plant and animal life, and minimise impact from the project.
We carried out dye dispersion tests in Merimbula Bay earlier this year in August. We released a harmless, bright red fluorescent dye into the water at several locations in the bay, including Haycock Point (east and north). This information will show how waterborne materials travel and spread in the bay. It will help our designers understand how water flows there. We will do this testing again in the warmer weather.