The origin of a commercial-sized quantity of oil which was located within the Port Macquarie Waste Water Treatment plant last week is currently being investigated by the Port Macquarie Hastings Council.
A thick layer of oil was found blanketing the surface of the treatment plant reactors at the plant on Tuesday, November 21.
Port Macquarie's waste water is treated at this plant and discharged as effluent into Kooloonbung Creek.
Group Manager Utilities Operations, Dr Cornelia Wiebels, said the amount of oil located was consistent with that of a commercial quantity dumped illegally into Port Macquarie's sewage system.
"Staff have been diligently working to contain and remove the pollutant, in an attempt to limit its impacts on the environment through the plant's natural discharge process into Kooloonbung Creek," Dr Wiebels said.
"Not only does this come at an environmental cost, but there are significant financial costs to the community to extract this amount of pollution from the treatment plant.
"We've also had to take precautionary measures to halt the production of recycled water from the Port Macquarie Recycled Water Plant, which is placing increased demand on our drinking water."
Port Macquarie-Hastings Council is already investing $2.3 million for projects plans to upgrade the area's water and sewage network.
There are eight wastewater treatment plants in the Port Macquarie-Hastings sewerage scheme with the Port Macquarie plant currently working at or over its original design capacity.
Dr Wiebels said under the Protection of the Environment Operations Act, Council has the power to impose financial penalties of up to $4000 for individuals or $8000 for corporations for environmental pollution.
"We urge anyone who may have seen any suspicious tanker activity last week, to report it to Council's customer service by phoning 6581 8111," Dr Wiebels said
"All reports will be dealt with in strict confidence."
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