Source : PortMac.News | Citizen :
Source : PortMac.News | Citizen | News Story:
News Story Summary:
Sewage spill caused by NSW floods forces evacuation at Stuarts Point on NSW Mid-North Coast & authorities aren’t taking any risks.
The problem began when overflowing septic tanks triggered a public health alert and forced the evacuation of resident.
At least 45 homes were affected and residents were forced to leave their homes in gumboots and have their feet decontaminated in a foot-bath after "bio-hazard material" was located at Stuarts Point near Kempsey.
Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW), along with their team specialising in hazardous material, worked with local authorities and police to help move people to a nearby youth centre.
"With the town of Stuarts Point running mostly on septic systems, the groundwater — it's got a really shallow groundwater — has lifted right up with the flooding and overflowed a lot of those septic systems," FRNSW Superintendent Rod Chetwyn said.
"It was a difficult evacuation because what we were required to do was actually decontaminate all the people, especially their feet if they had been wading through the water prior to getting into that evacuation centre."
The evacuations came as no surprise to longstanding Stuarts Point resident John Huntington. He said that he was glad it happened and that it may finally force council to replace septic tanks.
"Sewerage has been coming for a long time," he said.
"I first bought here in 1991 and I was told that within five years we'd have sewerage and I'm still waiting. I personally think that council are dragging their feet on the
Two FRNSW scientific officers remained on site overnight to assess the extent of contamination and plot a way forward, but according to Mr Chetwyn it could take days.
"The initial reports are that the groundwater could take up to seven to 10 days to subside again, as long as there's no more rain.
"We'll be working with EPA, councils and various other agencies to work out the extent of it ... We will deal with it as quick as we can and as best as we can, but until we have that sort of data around we're unable to confirm exactly how long that's going to be."
The North Coast Public Health Unit has issued a warning over the impact of entering "extremely polluted" and "contaminated" floodwater.
"Contact can lead to skin and stomach infections and other rare, but serious conditions, such as leptospirosis," North Coast Public Health director Paul Corben said.
"We're urging all residents of areas affected by the floods to take care to reduce the risks of injury, sickness or infection. It is also very important to ensure children are kept away from floodwater at all times.
"If you are cleaning up after flooding, please remember to wear safety equipment including boots, gloves and eye protection and wash your hands thoroughly afterwards."
Video By | Mia Tyquin