Ocean outfall project next steps: Bega Valley

The current beachface outfall pipe
The current outfall pipe discharges treated effluent onto the beach, midway between Pambula and Merimbula.

The NSW Government's month-long window for community feedback on the proposed Merimbula ocean outfall pipe and sewage treatment plant upgrade, has closed.

Seeking a response to Bega Valley Shire Council's recently delivered Environmental Impact Statement, the engagement gave valuable insight into how the project is locally viewed.

Council's Water and Sewerage Services Manager, Chris Best said community feedback plays an important part in deciding an outcome for the project.

"We're really grateful to everyone in the community who provided a response," Mr Best said.

"Delivering the Environmental Impact Statement was a massive project to undertake, with 10-years of in-depth study painting a clear picture of potential effects and benefits to the local environment.

"With our EIS findings delivered, the NSW Department of Planning Industry and Environment has collected the community feedback and identified key issues raised.

"Our project staff are working on how to respond to the issues raised during the public feedback period.

"We need to work out what needs to change, or what else we should be looking at before we go back to the department again.

"This process can result in community feedback being a catalyst for change, and with numerous issues raised, from water re-use to calls for a shorter outfall pipe, there is certainly scope for the final proposal to change, or for other projects to be prioritised for funding.

"After we have responded to the EIS submissions the department's Minister will determine an outcome to the project

"We will also seek community input in the next six months as we draft a water services strategic plan, and what we learn will change where limited community funds are spent moving forwards.

"We will keep the community informed as the next stages progress," Mr Best said.

For more information on the proposed Merimbula ocean outfall and sewage treatment plant upgrade project, visit Council's information webpage.

To view submissions to the Environmental Impact Statement, visit the NSW Department of Planning Industry and Environment's project portal.

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