THE Scone septic waste facility at the Scone Sewerage Treatment Plant has been closed as a precautionary measure.
Upper Hunter Shire Council general manager Waid Crockett said the closure was unavoidable while problems with the old septic waste facility are addressed.
The septic waste facility is an unlined pond, also known as a night soil pit, that has been used for many decades.
The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has directed the facility be closed because there could be a potential risk of contamination to ground water.
During a regular licensing inspection of the site in November 2015 the EPA Inspector requested council stop using the septic waste disposal pond as it was constructed without a liner.
Council staff agreed to close the facility and commission an Environmental Site Assessment.
Independent experts RCA Australia were engaged in November 2015 to undertake an Environmental Site Assessment of soil and ground water quality adjacent to the pond.
The draft Environmental Site Assessment report was received by council in February 2016 and reviewed by council staff.
The results were inconclusive and ground and water tests surrounding the waste facility are continuing.
Council continues to work with EPA towards reinstating a septic waste facility somewhere in the Upper Hunter and to ensuring the Scone Sewerage Treatment Plant remains sustainable well into the future.
Council is also negotiating with neighbouring councils for use of their septic waste facilities in the interim.
The four septic pump out contractors that had agreements in place with council to use the facility, have been informed of the closure.
Council apologises for this interruption to the availability of septic waste disposal facilities in the Upper Hunter Shire.
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