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In Cooranbong NSW on “Utility Infrastructure...” at 60 Avondale Road, Cooranbong NSW 2265:

Peter and Barbara Dixon commented

We have recently found out about an application (DA 1844/2013) for the council’s consent to demolish buildings at 60 Avondale Road, Cooranbong and to agree to the concept of a waste water and sewerage treatment and recycling plant being built and operated at 60 Avondale Road, Cooranbong. We were not notified by letter. I imagine letters were only sent to people who may be affected by the demolition of buildings at 60 Avondale Rd. However, we feel we will definitely be affected in some way by the building of a sewage treatment facility which would be only approximately 100 metres from our property.

There is very little detail in the application concerning this facility and how it would be operated and managed. We have recently been informed that a company, Flow Systems, would most likely be the company to build and operate this facility. This company operates a facility at Pitt Town and Johnson Property Group has stated that the Cooranbong facility would be similar to the one on the Vermont Estate development at Pitt Town. A representative of Flow Systems said he would most likely be asked to speak at Cooranbong if there was a community meeting.

Flow Systems is a private sector water utility (licensed under the Water Competition Industry Act). They have told us that Stage 2 would be considered for consent by them, not the council, and an Environmental Impact Statement would also be prepared by them. They stated that there would be no noise (one resident at Pitt Town near the water treatment facility has said there is a slight buzzing noise at night) or odour and there would not have to be a buffer zone.

However, guidelines do have to be followed with private sector utilities, including various factors such as any environmental impacts on a community, any transformation of a locality, any reduction of the aesthetic quality or value of a locality. We believe that building a sewage/water recycling facility in Avondale Rd would have a negative impact on the community in the above ways.

Further research seems to indicate that there is a possibility of breakdowns in these facilities, particularly including sewage overflows. (The EPA recognises “that there are conditions under which a sewage overflow may be difficult to avoid” - Licensing Guidelines for Sewage Treatment Systems - Environment Protection Act 2003.) Licence application forms also include sections where the applicant has to show they have incident/emergency plans and disaster recovery plans.

On the site at Avondale Road there are houses right on the boundary of the proposed facility. The Pitt Town area development is also quite different to Cooranbong. The few local, established people at Pitt Town live in a rural zone across a road adjacent to the new waste water facility development there. Here at 60 Avondale Road, the building is to be placed in the midst of a long-established residential area. Also those purchasing blocks on the Vermont Estate at Pitt Town know that there is a waste water treatment plant on the estate and they can choose a block as close or as far away as they desire from the treatment facility. The existing residents in Avondale Road, and those on Freeman’s Drive backing onto the site have no such choice.

Apart from possible odour and noise we are also concerned about possible chemical hazards. This facility will treat the waste water and pump it back to the new development. In the application by Flow Systems for a similar plant at Wyee it states that: “A variety of chemicals including sodium hypochlorite, alum, etc. will be used for treatment process purposes, disinfection and membrane cleaning.” My wife is a respiratory scientist and is well aware of respiratory problems caused by chemicals.

We have a young infant and another child due in a few days and we do not want to be forced into a situation where the building of this facility could possibly make our home environment not only unpleasant but harmful. We feel it is entirely objectionable to consider the building of such a facility in this residential area.

delivered to the planning authority

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