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Improving drainage for Mullum

Drains and pipes are under examination in Mullumbimby to help reduce the risk of flooding and overflow in residential areas that occurs when too much stormwater enters the sewerage system. This is commonly known as inflow and infiltration.

Byron Shire Council’s Water and Sewer team is actively gathering data on dry and wet weather flow rates, overflow events and the health of the pipes and sideline connections from Mullumbimby residences to Council mains.

Six flow meters and two rain gauges were installed on Council mains in December 2018 and visual inspections on sewerage and stormwater connections began in late May 2019.

Camera inspection and non-toxic smoke testing are also occurring in the Mullumbimby CBD area to help identify sources of inflow (stormwater entering the sewer from incorrectly installed pipes or drains).

The smoke testing involves pumping coloured smoke into pipes to identify possible sources of inflow and infiltration. Cracked pipes are identifiable at points where the smoke becomes visible, such as from yards, roof gutters or pipes.

These tests will be carried out by Interflow, a specialist subcontractor to Byron Shire Council.

Jason Stanley, Project Manager Inflow and Infiltration for Byron Shire Council, said the overall goal of the project is to remove stormwater from the sewerage system at Mullumbimby to reduce costs for residents, Council, community and environment.

“Stormwater overflow and localised flooding can damage personal property and homes, which can be costly to residents,” he said.

When stormwater enters the sewer system it adds to the total flow reaching the sewage treatment plant. The excess flow then also increases costs to the community and Council through increased processing and energy costs of the treatment plant to process it. The treatment plant is also placed at risk of becoming overwhelmed.

“Council will be working with individual property owners and residents later in the year to inspect connections from downpipes and rainwater tanks, low lying gully traps, drain openings, manholes and street gutters or swales,” he said.

“It’s important we work together to identify improperly connected or outdated house and business surface drains connected to the sewer so that Council can provide infrastructure for the community of Mullumbimby that is not only adequate, but sets the foundation for a longer term sustainable solution.”

Council’s Water and Sewer team is currently working with specialist environmental design and consulting agency, Australian Wetlands Consulting, to consider the benefits of Water Sensitive Urban Design to improve drainage in the town.

“Residents’ desire to maintain the character of Mullumbimby is of paramount importance to us and our team is looking for ways to maintain the heritage look and feel of the town while providing better drainage for private residences and street frontages,” Mr Stanley said.

Council has released a community survey for residents to assist Council in identifying high risk areas affected by inflow and infiltration. Residents will also be advised of inspection dates later this year by house-to-house letter drops and on-site door knocking immediately prior.

You can keep up to date with information and register your interest in Reducing Stormwater in the Sewer project at yoursaybyronshire:

You can complete the survey here.

Categories: stormwater, inflow, infiltration, mullumbimby, sewer, sewerage, sewage, runoff, flooding, drainage, water, water sensitive urban design, residential survey, community survey
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