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Community Notice: Effluent overflow in the Condamine River

4 June 2020

Southern Downs Regional Council would like to inform the community of an effluent overflow that occurred yesterday into the Condamine River at the Warwick Sewage Treatment Plant. Effluent is water that has a partial level of treatment, but has not yet completed the full treatment process.

Council is working closely with the Department of Environment and Science to resolve the overflow of secondary treated effluent into the Condamine River which occurred on Wednesday 3 June.

Following an operational malfunction at the Warwick Sewerage Treatment Plant, effluent overflowed into the river and eroded a section of the river bank.

A Council spokesperson said that while the incident was regrettable and accidental in nature, officers had responded promptly and proactively to resolve the issue.

“Council immediately undertook remediation actions once the leak was discovered. Officers cleaned and disinfected the spill site, and also conducted required water sampling and erecting of pollution signs,” the spokesperson said.

“We have been on top of the situation from the start and have submitted an initial incident report to the Department of Environment and Science in accordance with Council’s Environmental Authority for the plant.

“Water quality samples upstream and downstream from the discharge location have been sent for testing. We will await and be guided by the Department’s advice. Following drought, the river is currently not flowing which mitigates potential contamination.

“In the interest of public safety, we will also conduct structural investigation of the river bank over next two days to assess the erosion.”

Council will also conduct an incident investigation to review the plant control system and operation and implement remedial measures where necessary to avoid similar situations in future.

Public safety is very important, and while Council gathers more facts on the water quality at the spill site, residents are advised to avoid accessing or using the waterway near the Warwick Sewerage Treatment Plant and to avoid fishing or consuming fish caught near the spill site.

Further notification will be provided to the community as it comes to hand.

Any residents or businesses with concerns from the overflow can contact the Customer Service Centre on 1300 697 372.

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