Byron Shire Council has announced the design and construction contract for the new Brunswick Valley Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) has been awarded to Brisbane based civil contracting company Fulton Hogan.

At a total cost of approximately $25 million, site works are due to commence in March 2009. The new STP is located on council-owned land at the end of Vallances Road in Mullumbimby.

Byron Shire Council’s Director of Water and Recycling Management Services, Phil Warner, said the STP will result in better waste-water management practices in the Mullumbimby and Brunswick area and improved water quality in the Brunswick River estuary.

“The treated effluent, from the new STP, will be available to the Main Arm Irrigation Scheme for  dairy pasture irrigation and will significantly reduce the amount of fresh water drawn from our creeks for irrigation purposes,” he said.  

The Brunswick Valley Sewage Treatment Plant site also plays an important ecological role in the Brunswick Valley, forming part of an important wildlife corridor that connects the coastal floodplains with the sub-coastal hinterland. 

Mr Warner said recent surveys revealed the site had at least 133 terrestrial invertebrate and vertebrate species inhabiting the site. This includes 104 bird species (2 threatened), 13 mammal species (3 threatened), 9 frog species and 7 reptile species.

With 4.5 kilometres of riparian riverbank vegetation, including the Brunswick River and billabongs, the area is a significant ecological zone and provides an important fish habitat leading into the Cape Byron Marine Reserve. 

Works already undertaken at the site include cattle exclusion fencing, reinstating billabong tidal inundation, tree planting, weed management and bush regeneration.

“Council in conjunction with grants and subsidies from the NSW Department of Water and Energy, NSW Environmental Trust, 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,” Mr Warner said.

Currently the towns of Mullumbimby and Brunswick Heads are served by Mullumbimby STP and Brunswick Heads STP built in the 1960s. The scheme includes decommissioning these old plants once the new STP is operational.

Other sections of the scheme include construction of the road to the STP which will be completed in March 2009.

Construction of pipelines and pump stations associated with the scheme is programmed to be awarded in April 2009 and constructed by end of 2009.

Construction of the works will be fully completed in 2010 and after successful testing shall be connected to the sewer system.

Further information can be obtained from the Brunswick Area Sewerage Augmentation Scheme hotline on 02 6626 7321.