Casino Abattoir and it's relation to presence of sharks in Ballina.

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bluediamond started the topic in Thursday, 20 Aug 2020 at 8:45pm

Hey Swellnuts. Just gonna put this here. Some research i did on the possible impact of the Casino abattoir and the rise in shark numbers off Ballina. I sent it off to media, shire councils and parliament with mixed results. I just can't let it rest as i personally believe there's a huge connection.
Please note this is just observations from 2017,...and i'm no scientist or hardcore uni student. Just a surfer trying to put the pieces together.
Would be interested in any thoughts and feedback. Cheers and stay safe!!

To whom it may concern.
Thanks for taking the time to read my document. Whilst I tried to make it as formal as possible, please note I am just a surfer, that surfs these waters, and I’m just trying to pass on some information that I believe to be hugely important. This is not a university assignment or a peer reviewed journal, but I did try to structure it as well as possible to make it easier to read and leave the reader with an opportunity to make an informed decision on my comments. Feel free to contact me with any thoughts or queries. I really hope this helps and it leads to a solution. I’m half expecting to get eaten everytime I surf and have even prepared myself mentally for the moment. I have friends driving to the Gold Coast to surf and friends who have stopped surfing. I wholeheartedly do not support netting or culling. There has to be a better solution. I do believe I have found the source of the problem. I like many surfers have had many sleepless nights trying to work out what’s going on. But like a wise friend of mine once said, there are no problems, only solutions. Thanks.
Hard Facts:
Northern Cooperative Meat Company:
• Located approximately 70km upstream from the entrance of the Richmond River.
• Processes 1200 head/day of veal and 800 head/day of beef for an annual throughput greater than 42,000 ETCW. It is a service abattoir with a boning room, rendering plant and tannery and treats and disposes of all waste on site (file:///C:/Users/Paul/Downloads/APIA0033-Final-Report.pdf ) p61
• Has been using the wastewater used for washing of slaughtered cattle for irrigating crops at nearby San Marla property on Saville Road. Unknown year operation began. Unknown quantity of water used.
• Saville Road approximately 3km from Richmond River. From looking at google earth, numerous tributaries can be seen running through the area, all, most likely to feed into Richmond river.
• Southern Cross University have been asked to help with a problem of ‘contamination’ of the soil from the high volume of water being used on the land and also to try to suck up some of the water using reed type plants.
“The reuse of wastewater and effluents for irrigation can result in excessive nutrient build-up in the soil, in particular significant amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus and organic carbon, but also sodium, which over time may cause land degradation and water pollution,” said agronomist Professor Rose.
• Processing activities required for meat production generate large quantities of wastewater and solid waste with predominantly high salt and organic content,” said Systems Manager at NCMC, Trevor Moore.
• “Conventional remediation of the effluent is not only costly but is a waste of good organic matter that is much more economical when applied to cropping,” he said.
• “Whilst we have been irrigating crops for a number of years, this project will identify plants that will not only improve nutrient uptake but also generate greater bio-mass providing opportunities for bio-energy recovery, already under investigation by NCMC.”
• NCMC’s waste management program is ‘unconventional’ in that it doesn’t store it’s wastewater in large containers to allow evaporation of liquid content. Instead they have tried a cost effective and environmentally friendly way of getting rid of the waste water. Whether or not the true effects this would have on the environment around it, and in particular the potential runoff into the nearby river system are relatively unknown.
WHEN it comes to processing waste there is the standard method – using sequentially batched reactors which require substantial energy and flocculants.
And there are alternative ‘out of the box’ ways of doing the same job. Northern Co-operative Meat Company is investigating the latter and after early trials is optimistic the answer will tick all the right boxes.

Hard Facts on:
The Richmond River:
• It only ever flows in one direction. Towards Ballina. All of the water from upstream at some point enters the ocean at either Ballina or Evans head
• At Woodburn, a small tributary runs off from the Richmond river, eventually growing in size downstream to become the Evans River, coming out at Evans Head, next to the Surf Club.
• After high volumes of rain, vast amounts of dirty water can be seen over large areas of coastal waters both North and South of Ballina, dependant on local conditions on the day (eg wind, swell, tides, etc). The dirty water is generally regarded as topsoil being washed off of farms further upstream, eg, Casino.
• The last relatively significant rainfall events in Casino in 2016 were during August. Twice in August it received 50mm of rain during 24 hour periods.
• It’s unlikely that it needs emphasizing, however a significant number of shark attacks have occurred at the entrance to the Richmond river and also one at the entrance to it’s tributary at Evans Head,as well as the beaches to the North of the river entrance. No cluster of attacks have occurred at both the Tweed River entrance, nor the Clarence River entrance, both of which have sizeable surfing populations regularly surfing around the beaches alongside the entrance (granted the shark nets begin just North of the Tweed river). Considering the surfing population around Ballina has significantly dropped in recent months, however the number of shark incidents has continued to rise, it is likely the Richmond river is a possible source of some attraction for the White Pointer.
Hard Facts on
• According to a very quick google search, A shark's primary sense is a keen sense of smell. It can detect one drop of blood in a million drops of water (25 gallons or 100 liters) and can smell blood 0.25 mile (0.4 km) away.
• This is just an observation, but from any footage I have seen of cage diving, from what I can gather, they burley the water up with blood so that the White Pointers will get a ‘smell’ for it and go into a feeding frenzy. It seems effective as they tend to have sharks hanging around the boats, biting at anything, including propellers, cages, and whatever else they can because it seems the blood activates an urge to eat.
• There has been an unprecedented amount of sharks being tagged and observed off the coast around Ballina and Byron over the last 2years. The numbers are only rising and also the anecdotal reports coming from ocean users is they have never seen numbers so high. The biggest cluster however seems to be around the Entrance to the Richmond river. Also it was reported last weekend that during a SLSC competition at the beach next to the Evans River entrance, competition had to be put on hold 6 times due to various shark sightings throughout the day. Also unheard of in the past.
• The majority of attacks have been by sharks in the 2.5-3m size. Scientists have been saying that at this size they move from primarily feeding on fish, to small mammals. It thus could appear unusual that such large amounts of attacks have been on humans by sharks of this size, all of a sudden. Could this be a link to blood in the water putting them into attack mode and surfers just happen to be the first thing the sharks come across after being drawn into the beaches adjacent to the river mouths?
Speculative Facts:
Today I tried calling NCMC to get some hard facts about their waste water disposal program. I was given the number from the main office to a guy named Craig. He attempted to answer some of my questions, but they were vague answers before palming me off to talk to Trevor Moore, someone he said would have superior knowledge. I couldn’t find any details for Mr Moore.
However the conversation with Craig went as such.
When I called, the guy i talked to was very certain that the run off from the crops couldn't reach the river. I asked him what about through the many tributaries and irrigation channels that funnel off to the river and he remained adamant and slightly irritable. When i asked him about what happens after heavy rain, surely it can reach the river then, he was still all no. He seemed pretty keen to not want to explain why although I did ask for more details. For someone that knew for certain that it was impossible for the water to escape he seemed to know very little about the actual operations.
Then i asked him why Southern Cross was called in to fix the contaminated soil. He got pretty annoyed when i used the word contaminated, and said it was just getting high levels of phosphorous and other agents that I listed above. Sounds contaminated to me. When the soil is not it’s natural self and has been infiltrated with other chemicals due to human interference? That’s contamination. He palmed me off to another guy who i cant find contact details for. He also didn't know how long the project has been going for, which i found strange because he was a significant staffer and someone i was recommended to talk to from the office. When i asked him why there was no information available online at all about San Marla, he just replied, you will have to talk to Trevor Moore. He kept saying that. So the conversation was pretty much a dead end.
So i dunno, but to me it sounds like they are just saying yeah yeah, all good, nothing to see here, but in reality it sounds like the bombardment with abbottoir run off has obviously had an affect on the soil quality, which in my humble opinion, can only have a snowball effect, that being that after any rain, the soil would find it's way to the river, highly contaminated soil and that would enter the water system etc etc. Also if thats seeping into the water table, it surely would find it's way to the river?.
It sounds like it was a trial that was possibly approved by the EPA because they put all their parameters in place, which probably included a contingency (gotta tick those boxes) for something like soil quality being affected. That contingency is probably the trial in place now by Southern Cross University. Im sure they would never admit the water is reaching the river but a quick look at google earth shows that the area the site is on, Saville Road Casino, has heaps of tributaries branching off towards the river. Surely they haven't just sealed the site off to avoid any potential runoff reaching at least one of these little tributaries, particularly after heavy rain, especially considering the volume of water being used from 1200+ slaughters of cattle per day! That water has to go somewhere. The last time they had a solid dump was two lots of 52mm in August so that would probably be enough to start a chain reaction of seepage from the site. Or maybe its just finding it's way there regardless of rainfall. I find it hard to believe you could contain that vast a volume of water (guessing) from reaching a watercourse less than 3km away.

Questions that need Answering:
When did the ‘unconventional’ method of treating the plants wastewater begin? If this corresponds with the same timing of the shark incidents increasing, I believe this could be the sole reason for the shark behaviour being so dramatically changed to what is normal for this area. Also, why is there no evidence available of when the trial was started.
What is the water quality throughout the Richmond river and Evans river particularly after rain? Are there traces of blood from the abbatoir escaping into the river? If so how much? And can this make its way all the way down stream?
Is water sampling an option??
Why would the sharks all of a sudden become so magnetized to the Richmond river entrance and surrounding beaches, yet not the other river systems. And why have they been aggressive compared to any other time in the past, seemingly out of nowhere. Again, does this correspond to a timeline of the abattoirs wastewater management scheme.
What about the other abbatoirs situated along the Richmond river? What are their waste water schemes? Particularly the piggery at Booyung.

I firmly believe that there is something coming from the Richmond river that is attracting the sharks to it’s entrance and surrounding beaches, and driving them to be aggressive and in a constant attack mode. It has been mentioned that in the past, when Byron Bay was a whaling town, numerous great whites would cluster around the towns whaling station. Since it’s closure, no such clusters occur. While there have been attacks at Byron and Broken head, the sheer number and cluster of sharks around Ballina suggests something extraordinary. If the river is the obvious point of reference that they seem to congregate around, then logic suggests something is coming out of the river. Finding the source of what it is that’s attracting them is the key, I believe, to solving this problem. Considering Casino is ranked in the top 20 of meat producers in the country, slaughtering 2000 beasts per day, and that they have developed an alternative method of wastewater removal, as opposed to the conventional and stringent ways approved by environmental agencies, it seems to me, that the source of the problem could be the SanMarla farm and it’s dubious operations.

bluediamond's picture
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bluediamond Thursday, 20 Aug 2020 at 10:42pm

Something i didn't mention in the article, is that water prices in Casino at the time of their new 'alternative solution' had gone up significantly. This no doubt also led to their 'cost effective' strategies. There are articles online about it if you delve in deep.

thermalben's picture
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thermalben Friday, 21 Aug 2020 at 6:10am


Full marks for diligence.

I am gonna have to read through this a few more times.

PS. Are you related to TBB?

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goofyfoot Friday, 21 Aug 2020 at 6:41am

Ha! TBD??

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thermalben Friday, 21 Aug 2020 at 7:15am

@goofyfoot, this level of research can only be achieved by someone with a bloodline connection to truebluebasher.

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freeride76 Friday, 21 Aug 2020 at 8:19am

BD, I appreciate your diligence and I'm not having a go, because this abattoir run-off could be a factor.

I just think it's minor one and even if true it has low explanatory and predictive power.

It has no benefit in explaining the Belongil and Main beach Byron attacks, nor the Broken head ones, nor Rob Pedretti at Kingsliff or Mani at Wilsons, nor the Evans head attacks. Not to mention the Port Macquarie attacks.

There's been run-off from the Richmond since time began, and tons of dead animals come out there during floods.

But that doesn't explain the change in white shark abundance during the first decade of the 2000's and the increase in encounters/attacks along the whole north coast.

70k's upstream and 3k's from river. it would take a major flood event to get that run-off down to the mouth.

But white shark numbers are up regardless of rainfall.

Whites seem to prefer clear water, small surf and low turbidity.

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GuySmiley Friday, 21 Aug 2020 at 9:17am

BD, Thank you posting you paper and good work. It takes local people like you with an inquisitive mind to start the ball rolling on more deeper and scientific investigations.

Your post reminds me of two other environmental issues that only came to notice after the good work of concerned locals.

First, the cancer and other serious illness cluster at Barwon Heads in Victoria that locals believe is linked to the Council spraying of local wetlands to kill mosquitoes. This work is current. Google search for further details it's gaining lots of traction with government, local surf shop good start. Second, a cancer cluster on the east coast of Tasmania (St Helens??) some years back (Think featured on ABC TV) thought to be linked to forestry activities causing toxins from a particular mass planted gum tree (Sydney Blue Gum??) to run into the local river which was the town's drinking water. This run off also caused mass oyster kills for local farms. This case only came to light after local doctors and health care professionals started joining the dots. Again it was many years ago but I think from memory the forestry practices were changed where buffer zones of mixed growth plantings were required to act as a buffer between the plantation and the river.

Good luck, can I suggest you get others involved to give you a hand.

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bluediamond Friday, 21 Aug 2020 at 9:37am

Haha. Nah not related to TBB.
TBB is incredible in his research and enhances the Swellnet forums with his observations and his way of presenting them. Love reading his posts especially lately.
It's thorough because it is something that was affecting myself and my friends and the community and i felt obliged to investigate a feeling i had.

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bluediamond Friday, 21 Aug 2020 at 10:02am

Thanks Freeride and no probs. I put this up here to encourage discussion and debate.
It's important to keep in mind that i did this in 2017, just after all the attacks and encounters around Ballina. It may not hold as much significance now as it did then, and perhaps operations have changed at the meatworks since then. Maybe me hassling the media and councils and politicians did have an impact. Who knows.
But i think it's important to remember just how much of a traumatic period it was for the town and not discount the fact there was something unusual going on at the time. I'm sure your memory doesn't need refreshing but this article is a strong reminder.
I think we both agree that the numbers of Pointers up there have increased dramatically.
So why is the question, have or did they congregate and become aggressive specifically around Ballina? Yes there have been other attacks, as there were for decades before, however the fact remains, something unusual was drawing the sharks to the rivermouth and the beaches to the north and south.
And with all due respect, your dismissal of the possibility that some amount of contamination from the abattoir could be reaching the ocean is speculative. Without scientific data to support that, it remains speculation. At the time, the one thing i wanted was for water samples to be taken from the Richmond river. I actually forgot, i did get a message back from the Mayor, David Wright, and he said he'd pass on my findings to the DPI. That was the last i heard of it. I was pressing all the people who i thought could help, to at the very least take some water samples and find out whether or not there was any possibility of traces of abattoir run off in the water.
Again, i understand 70ks is a long way, as is 3ks, however water only runs one direction with gravity, and all the feeder drains on that property only would have one river to run towards. Whether or not soil leeching and releasing some of the toxins into the water table is another factor...I don't know. I'm not educated in that type of thing at all. But, when you consider the vast volume of animals slaughtered daily, 2000, how much waste water must be used, and really picture what that looks like, where does that water go?? It has to go somewhere. And where does it flow to?
And also regarding what whites prefer, again, this is speculative on your part. That's fine but unless this observation is backed with scientific data, it's still just your opinion, which is welcomed! But is open for debate.
I know from observation when i lived in Ballina that any time the tide runs out, whether during rain events or not, there is a trail of river water that extends 1 or 2 ks out to see on the run off. No doubt this is mostly from industry/farming and development along the shores of the river, however, if there is some truth to the possibility that there is also abattoir blood in the mix, then you have a nice smelly chum that any passing white pointer would surely take an interest in, and detour into shore to take a look.
Finding nothing, they could possibly continue swimming along the beaches.
I've done the coastal walk from Lenno's to Nth Wall many times, its a nice walk. It's an easy swim for a shark.
Again, this is all based on obs from 2017 so how relevant it is to the present, i'm unsure, but i thought it worthwhile to share. I wasn't a swellnet member back then otherwise would have shared it here then.
If, and it's a big if, there is some evidence that would suggest that Casino Abattoir did play a part in baiting the sharks in closer in that period, then surely they would have blood on their hands and should be held fully accountable for it.
Again, the question keeps coming back to, why were they drawn to Ballina in such thick numbers and so aggressive.
I've discussed this research with alot of friends in the Ballina shire. From doctors, to vets, real estate agents, surf school operators. All of them agreed there is something suss that needs to be investigated further by someone with a bit more clout.
Appreciate your feedback as always but would love some hard scientific data if we're going to go down the road of if's and maybes, which i unfortunately can't provide, but hoping someone out there can. Cheers.

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bluediamond Friday, 21 Aug 2020 at 10:06am

Thanks Guy Smiley. Much appreciated.
Yes i spent some time down around Barwon Heads a couple of years ago when all that came up. That's quite intense. Didn't know about the Tassie situation. St Helens is a beautiful part of the world. I'll check out the link this arv.
Yeah i did try to get politicians, coucillors and media involved, but with little success. The Greens party showed interest but mostly they dismissed it as being too far upstream and could have little effect. But i'm not convinced, without proper testing done. Like i said above, this was written in 2017. So it is a little out dated to current circumstances and should be viewed with that in mind, however it still asks alot of questions that are relevant. Would really love some water sampling to be done in the river to know either way if there is something going on.
I'm in WA now, and felt that i'd exhausted all options with trying to get some action on it at the time so kind of let it go. Could only do what i could do.
Thanks heaps for your feedback. Kindly appreciated.

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pigman Friday, 21 Aug 2020 at 12:56pm

G i think if the abattoir is doing 2000 animals a day ,they would be collecting the blood to sold and made into blood meal 80% protein and around $1000 a ton.who knows?

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Distracted Friday, 21 Aug 2020 at 12:58pm

There is an abattoir at Frederikton, near Kempsey on the Macleay River, not as big as Casino, but would have similar issues to disposal of waste water. It would discharge at SWRocks.
Think it would be a long leap to connect abattoir waste to Great White attacks.

Interestingly though there were two people attacked and one killed in the Maria River near Telegraph Point by bull sharks in 1947, apparently down stream from a piggery/abattoir. Classic bull shark location and the locals are still pulling big ones out from near there.

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Solitude Friday, 21 Aug 2020 at 1:48pm

Freeride: I remember hearing an interview with Jeff Schmucker in relation to GWS down around Streaky. He was also saying the small, clear days are the ones they worry about more too.

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cd Friday, 21 Aug 2020 at 1:54pm

BD this might assist. only had a quick look.
seems they do some surface water sampling. Also they are required to provide the results. Look at the EPA site there will be a annual return with the monitoring results in there.

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chook Friday, 21 Aug 2020 at 2:32pm

a couple of thousand cows killed each day...and the trade off is a surfer gets bitten every few months... certainly looks like you northern nsw meat eating surfers are getting a better deal than the cows.

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simba Friday, 21 Aug 2020 at 2:51pm

We did a drift dive out thru the mouth of the Richmond river once,coming back from a dive further north. The water was powder blue and probably 30 to 40 m viso and clear as it gets,perfect opportunity with the tide just turning to see whats out in the entrance to the river.Well got a bit of a shock actually because as we drifted with the boat out past the walls it was pretty much count the bullsharks...literally as far as you could see were sharks....waiting for the tide ....power headed a couple to weigh in at the co-op ...expected to see a couple but not probably hundreds.

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thermalben Friday, 21 Aug 2020 at 3:04pm

I can't believe you did a drift dive through the Richmond. Absolutely mental.

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freeride76 Friday, 21 Aug 2020 at 3:04pm

yep. last time I caught a jewie out near the mouth I literally pulled it out of the jaws of a bull shark that wanted a piece of it.
that was midday.

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bluediamond Friday, 21 Aug 2020 at 4:00pm

Thanks for those links cd.
I tried to read all the content in them but they left me with a headache.
Would be good if someone with the expertise to pick through it all could have a crack at it.
Much appreciated and good to see the EPA have such stringent conditions on them, whether they are followed strictly would be something water sampling from an independent body would help to find out.
Good to see all the feedback above. Cheers.

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cd Friday, 21 Aug 2020 at 5:53pm

A couple of thing to consider-
The water treatment process and method of discharge currently in operation is likely significantly better than times gone by. Meaning once upon a time the wash down was probably not treated and possibly flowed directly to river- my assumption, guessing the abattoir has been operational for a fairly long period of time. Meaning if abattoir waste in the river is attracting the sharks i would suggest that previous practice would have been more problematic.
If current practice is to irrigate the wastewater. A treatment process would be in place beforehand. Meaning that the blood compound would have been digested / altered through through biological uptake. Then the wastewater (not blood) is applied to land via irrigation. A requirement of the irrigation scheme would be to have sufficient surface area to irrigation volumes so as that there is no surface runoff. The soil provides then another treatment through biological processes and nutrient uptake.
What i am suggesting is that discharges to the river through groundwater flow from the irrigation scheme are unlikely to contain compounds that resemble blood.

I'll have a look at the license and results when i have a chance- see if any thing stands out.


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bluediamond Friday, 21 Aug 2020 at 6:55pm

Ok i think i understand the gist of what you're saying.
However, if they called in Southern Cross University to plant trees/reeds that would help absorb some of the water, due to a high level of contamination of phosphorous etc, would that not mean it hasn't been treated? Also i noted that the language they used was always waste water and organic matter, which made me wonder what organic matter actually is, which i would have thought was bits and pieces of...yeah. And apologies to the vegetarians. I do understand this sounds uncaring but i'm just trying to stick to the facts and not get distracted from that.
Also it's worth keeping in mind that this method of using the water for irrigation was considered unconventional, at the time of print. So if there is a conventional way, i'd assume it has been made conventional because it's a safer practice and avoids the possibility of things like soil contamination, or runoff into the rivers.
Also from what i could gather but i could be wrong because the wording was really hard for me to understand, but there is already a level of runoff into the tributaries on the property? If so this further enhances what i believe and also that it wouldn't even take a rain event to put this waste water into the river, it would just flow there anyway.
I noted in the reading that they have to build some new ponds to mitigate against rain events by 2020, which makes me wonder if they are doing that because the current measures of containment have been inefficient. Again, i'm struggling to understand the wording so may have completely misinterpreted that.
Thanks heaps for your help and for untangling it for me. To be honest, i'll be happy if i am proven incorrect in my suspicions and can let it go finally. It's been on my mind for these last few years, unfinished, and i'd be happy to be proven wrong, but definitely not content to let it go without solid proof that i'm barking up the wrong tree. And if i'm wrong, it still doesn't explain the cluster of sharks at that period of time, which still leaves questions in my opinion.

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cd Friday, 21 Aug 2020 at 8:48pm

So soil can become contaminated from application of nutrients in the wastewaters. Meaning the ability of the soil to adsorb, soil biology to metabolize and plant uptake has been exceeded. Nutrients may then mobilize to groundwaters or run off and enter waterways, potentially then lead to excessive algae growth and removal of oxygen from the waterways and fish kills.
I would think that the SCU trial is about looking at tree species that tolerate higher sodium levels (was also mentioned as been high levels in wastewater, and very problematic with any irrigation waters ) and that readily adsorb nutrients with high growth rates allowing harvest and removal. IE capture the nutrients and turn into a resource - organic fertiliser. Phosphorus is a limited resource so capturing and reusing is a goal. Removal of phosphorus from wastewaters generally requires chemical treatment- such as the application alum. Chemical reactions occur resulting with a particle that settles out.
Organic in this instance means chemical compounds containing carbon- derived from living organisms.
I'm guessing unconventional may simply mean the use of the wastewater for irrigation aiming for nutrient capture /cycling.
Conventional may potentially mean put through a treatment process and discharged to the sewer- with a large cost.

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cd Friday, 21 Aug 2020 at 8:56pm

Would be handy to know if the abattoir previously discharged to the sewer and had no environmental discharges or evaporation/ exfiltration ponds were used with possible overflows to river system.

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bluediamond Friday, 21 Aug 2020 at 9:31pm

Ok thanks for that cd. A fair bit of info there i'll have to let digest in my non scientific brain.
Really appreciate this analysis.
At the moment i feel i have more questions than i had before after reading your thoughts.
I think short of doing a site inspection myself, and taking water samples it's going to be hard to really get to the bottom of it.
I wonder how exactly they do irrigate....if it's sprinklers, or do they just suck all the waste into a pipe and discharge it onto the land in one big flow, sort of similar to how the Tweed Bypass works. If they are looking at cost effectiveness i'd imagine they wouldn't want anything too extravagant, otherwise better off sticking with the conventional methods.
Anyway, you've inspired me to do a bit more research in the coming days so cheers!!

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udo Friday, 21 Aug 2020 at 10:02pm

They copped a 15K fine in 2017 re effluent storage issues..

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bluediamond Friday, 21 Aug 2020 at 10:24pm

Wow! Thanks for that one Udo. I'll have to look that up. So they have been known to cut corners. $15k is significant. Incidentally that's around the time just after all the attacks, although not sure if it ties in in anyway. Cheers.

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bluediamond Friday, 21 Aug 2020 at 10:31pm

"The issue with effluent from abattoirs is that it's very, very high in nutrient loadings and those nutrient loadings then transfer through groundwater and surface water into the local creeks and rivers and produce things like algal bloom."
Ok. So it seems the water can and does reach the waterways. That completely changes everything. Like i said, the water only travels one direction. Imagine 2000 head of cattle per day, every day of the year....surely even a small amount of seepage, daily is going to accumulate into the river over time and fill the river from exit point at abattoir to the ocean entrance. Wastewater from 2000 head per day....that's 10000 per week. Not sure if it operates year round, probably not, but in the season it's operating, that's gotta have some impact surely. Thanks again Udo, that's really helpful.

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bluediamond Friday, 21 Aug 2020 at 10:40pm

“Waste water generated by the abattoir contains high levels of nutrients which must be carefully managed to prevent impacts on ground and surface water, including the Richmond River catchment,” the spokesman said.

“While some measures have been implemented to improve the management of waste water in recent years, major improvements are still needed for the company to achieve sustainable waste water management.”

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bluediamond Friday, 21 Aug 2020 at 10:55pm

Going by what this article says, it would seem the wastewater isn't treated before being dumped onto the land.
"My interest is in the fate of nutrients so they are not an environmental burden,” Prof Rose said

The blood and bone in the meatworks waste would be a danger to waterways because of the concentration of nitrogen, so instead the company pumps the water to the property and sees what plants benefit the most.

It seems they have done alot since they were fined to clean up their waste water removal, but there are alot of questions about their operations around 2016, which coincides with the spate of shark incidences around Ballina. My personal feeling is that they were less stringent with their practices until they were pulled up by the EPA. Also, not sure but the general gist i get from them receiving the fine was because they had insufficient records during that 2016 period. ...which would make it impossible to know if they did have an impact on the changing of river water quality.

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truebluebasher Saturday, 22 Aug 2020 at 12:35am

Bluediamond, here alongside the crew whatever nice stuff you or any say about tbb or others, we're all better off with such kindness & honesty. tbb likewise learns more each day & loves reading Bluediamond's insight alongside all crew in Ben's #1 swellnet family.

Yes! Ben is right to say such as tbb has been up this river looking for nasties, to be honest you may need a warning, cause here goes tbb illness it is!

We know Sharks push further inland with Drought. However, the nutrients in Drought are more concentrated and plume further. Sun & wind bakes Farmers Acid Sulphate Soil or in this case blood saturated soil & turns to cake & crumbles like Milo into less water...It plumes outward further & longer & attracts more Sharks up Stream. Farmers say that Sharks chase glow in the dark (Phosphorous Fish) .

But! Most Towns were fitted with Weirs up river a few mile of towns which limits Shark/ Dolphin's range by half. 1880's 3m Dolphin & Sharks were common up stream 100kms. Now Juvenile Bull Sharks live in deep pockets at the base. They are entirely dependant on Dam Releases for feed time. 1971 Toonumbar Dam releases would have to figure as a Shark attraction thru whole river but mostly at Weir/s or tight spots (Traps)

Example: Meat Works time release with Dam Release and Sharks await beneath Weir...Now you have an amplified Shark frenzy timetable ramped down river. Now if the Meat Works are onto it, then so to are other polluters, so now you got nutrients that a clogging the river by Mankind's Timetable. (tbb is not doing Dam release timetables now!) Just saying it's a big factor.(Dam to Ocean Stats would be handy and some are available!)

Casino has Sports / Airport / Racetrack /Rural Fire Brigade all phosphorous and all running into the river. Note new Aviation / Fire Foams are no longer Blood & bone but concentrated Fish & Brine..all still Shark burley.

Sticking with Richmond we approach Turf Farms (Blood & Bone + Phosphorous) Sharks love Turf Farms. Approaching these onsite dams flood they release concentrated nutrient load that teams together. Note as River gets wider it now supports 1000's of smaller farms with a multitude of complex crop runoff, again all ramping nutrient.

Emigrant Creek is important because of the Boral Quarry Explosions + the dust that mixes in with the River. tbb thinks it denies the Dolphins from tending & birthing where they would normally. The explosions are not predictable & would frighten dolphins...Most Quarries this close to the beach packed up 20-60 y/ago.
You'd have to say these explosions, unique to Ballina, would change shark feeding and scatter populations.

Treatment Plants shouldn't be this close to the rivermouth either ...most run out with outgoing tide (Shark Hour) at rivermouth + release is designed to flow into the EAC but 10% -30% will run back thru the rocky lineup as tide turns. Be worth checking if residual is attracting Sharks on back of release.

Golf Courses basically feed sharks and many are beside creeks and rivers by the sea + Zero give a shit about containing run off Shark berley (Phosphorous + Blood & Bone) This is Oz wide and yes you can draw a link with tide times to attacks. But that's a huge industry. Crew know the Sharks swim up gates into the Golf Course an live in the bloody golf Course Lakes ( Tweed / Carbrook sharks are healthy)

Horse racing track with heaps of watering + Horse Dip Lake all near River Mouth.

Airport this close to the Surf with huge runoff spells disaster...Everything in here from washing Planes, Fire Fighting Daily exercises to washing runway was pigs blood + bone now swapped for Bones, Scales,Salt & Fish Paste, Bull Sharks would never leave.

Trained seawalls gather nutrient moss on Rocks for turtles to hang around.

Fishermen trawling + tiding bait from every rocky outcrop all on the main beach.
Note White Sharks can Bob Up & scan individuals & sniff bait on shorelines.

Freeride 76 is right...Dolphins will go in little way at Ballina but it's not too clean, the Great Whites will hang off the beach & Orca hang off the EAC roundabouts waiting for Mum & Bub to take the roundabout hoping Bub spins out!

While we're out the front..More Turtles are moving South + Whale are birthing calves here due to Bigger wider longer migration...Pretty much more Orca & Great White food is being plated up a Ballina.

NSW Govt are setting more & more buoys and each is a major FAD. Meaning larger inshore food supply. Basically 100 Buoys = I00 fish & chip shops for Sharks.

Here's a paper on Dophins in Richmond Floods (Applies a little to GWS dirty water)

bluediamond chose the hardest site in Oz to decode, that takes some smarts.
What tbb has presented clearly shows Ballina ticks every box & scores 10/10 for attracting Sharks. Bull Sharks mostly, but yes with that hearty stew brewing in the pot on yer front porch you'll attract GWS as well )

Understand Top 40% of the Town are standing on most valuable real estate as they feed Sharks, now how many surfers would it take to tell all those smart people to wise up! Tell them that everything the whole town is doing is a mistake? Wow! Only Kids can do that sort of shit. They'll listen to the Kids.

Here today we share what we got, it'll have to do for now + wish & hope Ballina gets a break, they deserve that!

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truebluebasher Saturday, 22 Aug 2020 at 1:38am

In case you think we know better now & we wouldn't be so foolish as then.

Ballina are building an Ocean Pool on a NSW Declared High Risk Fishing Location.

Wayward 5 year/old in speedos can dive bomb his sister from pool edge ( No Lifeguard )

Fisherman's Kid is fined $100 without a lifejacket standing on very same pool edge.
As you can read, the same Council has completely opposite Policies on same Beach! How?

cd's picture
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cd Saturday, 22 Aug 2020 at 8:45am

here are their soil results.
A quick look indicates very high levels of sodium (Na), phosphorus (TP). Nitrogen also tending high (TN). Nitrogen is more easily leached from the soil.
As example guide for suitable TP is 20-45mg/kg depending on soil type.
Na 25-69mg/kg
For TN a soil of around 2500mg/kg.

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cd Saturday, 22 Aug 2020 at 8:59am
these are water quality results- from a dam. I assume this is the quality of the irrigation waters.
These results are similar values you might expect to see in raw sewer.
As an example many municipal waste waters following treatment have effluent quality of: units are mg/L
BOD <20 more common <5
SS <20 more common <5
TN <10
TP <5
Oil and grease <5

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cd Saturday, 22 Aug 2020 at 9:11am
here are the groundwater results- not knowing where the sites are could be referred to as possible initial receiving waters. Groundwaters then flow to creeks rivers.

Water quality guidelines (ANZG2018) below for lowland river
TN 0.35mg/L
TP 0.025mg/L
Ammonia 0.9mg/L

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cd Saturday, 22 Aug 2020 at 9:14am

these are surface waters results.
I believe point 7 and 8 are upstream - background results.
9-14 downstream

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truebluebasher Saturday, 22 Aug 2020 at 12:00pm

great snooping cd...
Experts reckon we only need a teaspoon of blood for Shark Cordial.
tbb will go fetch a few test tubes of water...throw in a teaspoon...then we'll scatter.

Toonumbar Dam
*During Drought, Enviro releases would be lessened (Works announcements etc)
Ocean Salt line pushes Bull Sharks / Dolphin further up river.
*Flood times the water would push faster thru Casino to Ballina.
The Floods then merge with EAC upwelling bringing GWS closer to Shore.
(tbb might touch on that later)... gonna need Craig's help with that gizmo!

2020 is a Drought Year (Dam is at 68%)
Current River depth / flow would be lower/slower to reflect Drought Dam Level.
You'd need to check Shark activity in relation to Human river Level ( Sound Right? )

One would need to factor Dam Release gain or loss for Seasonal River Flow
Release info seems to be the reserve of Private co/ops - re:(Bagman) Angus.
tbb tip! It would sit within tidal anomaly range > weirs (10-20% or 1ft)
Any more & Spring tide would push back extra release to breach weirs (No Good!)

eg: Current Depth / Flow 'may' be read as (10% below average Dam release)
Note other 'above' Casino tributaries also factor into these Richmond River sets.
From Richmond River (Casino) to the Ocean

Casino (Current Data) + Just stir in cd's (instant Shark Mix)
Depth (Level) 0.663m
Flow Volume / speed is 92.174 ML/day (Update reads 88.184)
4 ML Dam release reading (Yesterday?). Need checking!

Coraki (Water Temp -17*)
Depth (Level) 1.149m
Flow Volume - 214.1 us/cm

'Oakland Road' is long ? (Bungawalbin Creek < > Old Ferry Rd?)
Water Temp (17+*)
Depth (Level) 1.283m
Flow Volume - 123.5 us/cm

Splits to Evans < > Ballina

(Other) Richmond River Basin Data

Richmond River Ground Water

udo's picture
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udo Saturday, 22 Aug 2020 at 12:50pm

Approx one third of Casino STP effluent is reused
[at Casino golf course and for Agricultural irrigation]
The remaining Effluent from Casino, Coraki and Rileys Hill STP is dishcharged to tributaries of the Richmond river..

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bluediamond Saturday, 22 Aug 2020 at 1:38pm

Brilliant work TBB!! Cheers for your thoughts...was hoping you'd jump on board! I'm gonna have to read through all the links and let it all settle in my head. Something that keeps jumping out at me is that although there are many rivers up and down the coast, alot of them with large populations living along them, it's this particular river, at that particular time that had an abnormality in regards to shark activity. The timeline, 2016 matches up with a breach of environmental protocol at the abattoir. I'm not sure how much land they were using to irrigate at that time. Was it 200 acres or was it less? And how much of that 200 acres was actually being used. If it was the whole lot, at 3 to 4 million litres a day, that would result in about 4mL of water each day, which in isolation, is a small amount,...however on a daily basis, without a break, i'm guessing it would slowly sog the ground and come any sort of rain event, result in minor flooding?
Also, i mentioned to Freeride in another post that i lived on the banks of the Richmond river for 6 months in Wardell during the Lismore floods, in....i think it was 2017 around Easter. The river was extremely swollen for a long time, weeks, after that event, so guessing during those times there would be freedom of movement the whole length of the river, but yes, come on TBB, where's my locks and wiers timetables!! hahaha. Nah, you're a legend as always and hugely appreciate your valuable insight and feedback.
Oh and yes, i don't disagree at all the Pointers feed in clear water. That's pretty well established, however, i'm kinda thinking more along the lines of the dirty/bloody water is perking them up from further out, drawing them in and from that point they're cruising along the beaches that would still be in normal conditions, relatively clear, although having said that, over the last few years, there seems to be alot less clear water days up there as the town grows.
Interestingly, they have had a spate of incidences off California and also the East Coast, off the NY coast and beyond, where the water quality would have to be alot worse than E Coast oz, so i'm not sure they are exlusively clear water predators.
Anyway, got alot of reading to do, so cheers and great work!

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bluediamond Saturday, 22 Aug 2020 at 1:41pm

Cheers heaps CD. You've dug deep and found some nuggets there. Now i have to try to understand what it all means.
I did spend half of my night (exciting Friday night) last night reading an environmental plan from 2012 of the plant and also an environmental summary and plan moving forward last night that, for me, was some intense reading. Kinda twisted my brain into knots, but gave me a bit more of a comprehensive understanding of the way the plant operates, and they do treat different components, in different ways.
Anyway, more reading to do. Cheers heaps again. Really valuable to have crew with a bit of nous in this area onto it.

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bluediamond Saturday, 22 Aug 2020 at 1:43pm

Another nugget of gold Udo. Cheers to you! Thanks heaps. These posts are definitely helping gain a bigger picture. Thanks!

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truebluebasher Saturday, 22 Aug 2020 at 5:42pm

Yes udo that's a huge input, that only locals could suss...
You guys have got a shot at this....great detective skills all round.
Town are dead & surf crew must step up & they are...super effort.
Goldie Crew Salute + Happy to lend a hand.

tbb demo: Shows (NSW #1 High Risk - Ocean Pool Site) Council are hopeless!
Tip! Wed the Shark Data with clean Surf/Fish/Swim > Safest hours Timetable.
Surfers could boss Beach Safety Timetable to save Town's rep.
Could even lead to a grant to clean up the River to save Iconic Beachfront Tourism.

This EAC paper is way out there, way too much for tbb's surfin' bird brain.
This is that paper tbb's a run down + a bit of scrub up.

EAC runs about 1.6ms south. vs South Gale flows inshore current 0.5ms/1kt north)
The Continental shelf slopes the EAC south towards the shoreline on Northerlies
(Rain Storms) Clarence/Richmond flood out as EAC plumes inside the river.
This rush of opposing water in the line-up lends to larger wave height!
Tweed Flood study > EAC Roundabout effect off River Mouths > (re: Orcas wait)

Southerlies warm down welling > smothers upwelling to reverse inshore current .

Byron to Evans plumes North < > South < > East < >West (A Seafood basket)
The temp fluctuation & cross welling / flows brings a smorgasbord.
Note EAC narrows to half it's width 15km around Byron as such speeds up.

Northerlies / Upwelling = Seafloor compound nutrition
Southerly Down Draft = Sky / warms the nourishment
Westerly Floods = Estuarine mineral rejuvenation bounty
Easterly swell = Ocean harvest bounty

Cnr Inlet + Port Stephens serve up the Charophyte Nutri Grain for the teens teeth.
But Byron / Ballina / Evans are serving up the Seafood Platter for John West's best.

GWS are Nutrition Freaks...they love John West.

Evans EAC
North Current Upwelling -(4-7 days/month) April / Sept / Dec
North Wind Upwelling -(4 days/month) Aug / Dec
South Wind Downwelling - (5 days/month from Sept-Jan) Also current & wind .

tbb is not up to decoding the whole study...leave that for the smarter crew!

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udo Saturday, 22 Aug 2020 at 6:40pm

Hearing that the old Inghams Chook Factory on Ewingsdale rd Byron may of had a few mishaps over its life and leached waste liquids into Belongil creek
Freeride you ever heard of that ?

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freeride76 Saturday, 22 Aug 2020 at 7:06pm

no, but that whole area is very low lying and would have gone into Belongil every time there was a flood.

there would have been overspill of waste.

fcuk that joint stunk on a clear, cold night.

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indo-dreaming Saturday, 22 Aug 2020 at 7:10pm

Dont really have anything to add, but an interesting thread all the same.

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Patrick Saturday, 22 Aug 2020 at 8:27pm

(deleted - off topic)

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bluediamond Friday, 28 Aug 2020 at 8:59pm
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truebluebasher Friday, 28 Aug 2020 at 11:30pm

Byron was always upfront & hardcore with it's Slaughterhouse Shark Breaks.
Surfing 1970's ~ Welcome To Byron { Shark Feeding Times } [Locals Only]

tbb will give a {warning}...this old school boomer'z site may offend veggies.
Pretty Creepy when you think about it being one shoreline. Yeah! It's a bit full on!

tbb's Alternate nice clean version....just cause!

Ballina was Byron 1/2 Whale Vessels Port...(Bring the boys to the Yard)
Byron Whaling Company 1954-1962 (1,146) 10,000T oil (MeatWorks Jetty)
Fish (Turtle) Cannery 1920's -1964 - BBSLSC-Main Beach
Sunny Brand Chickens-1972 -2016 / $100m/yr (300K chickens/wk > Belongil Ck
Piggery (Also Surf Break Name)1897- 1975 > longer (Sth side of the Wreck)
Meatworks (Surf break Name) Blood'N'gutz...1912-1983 ( Belongil Ck Beach)

Grom tbb surfed the last 3 legs-up spots back in the late 1970's

29 Aug 2016 Echo News (Short news article really puts out in retrospect) *****
Sustainable means re-wilding our waterways and coastal seas Mary Gardner

Again...just 2 Chix comments, but both & tbb are awestruck by Mary's tidbits!
Mary saved a few sharky anomaly morsels for the local Northern Crew...wade on in!

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bluediamond Friday, 28 Aug 2020 at 11:52pm

Fascinating reading and photos TBB! Great find!! How's that slick of meatworks waste heading out from Belongil. Surely people didn't swim around that? Exactly how i'd picture an abattoir's run off to look as it enters the ocean.
Can't imagine the smell of the town when the whales were getting hacked up. I've had the unenviable job of doing that using a flensing knife on a dead Sperm whale, many years ago, and that smell is still stuck in my nostrils.
At least, they recognised the decline of the species before it was too late.
Loved the piece by Mary too. Cheers.

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truebluebasher Thursday, 17 Sep 2020 at 4:03pm

Giant Fishos Abattoir or Mega Fresh Weekend Wet Market?
Crew can now log in this weekend's Beached Whale Data

Patches Beach.. (10 km's) South of Richmond River Mouth...Ballina
Friday (3:00 pm) 11th September ...(17m / 54,000kg Sperm Whale Beached)

Sat (pm) Attempts with straps & 4wd

Sunday (8:00 am) 13th September ...Removal 'Plan' begins...

Sunday (10:00 am)
Puny & Tawdry knotted webbed strap threaded thru Pectoral Fin.
Note: (There is No communal 'East Coast' Whale Harness ) Yes! Others have such!
The Straps were taught in photo....seemingly Towing begins.... tbb can't watch!

Sunday (pm) The whale was moved to the Top / mid Tidal Zone. (Considered a fail)

Monday (am) Calls of Sharks > Bulldozers do best to putty it up from the tide.
Monday (o/n) Ivory poachers chainsawed the beak off the Whale.

Tuesday (am) Gruesome find upsets Bundjalung.

The removal of beak by Poachers makes world news for it's gory detail.

Post Mortem.

Wed -Dozens of men (chainsaws)+2 bulldozers +10 trucks cart remains to Lismore Tip.

[Warning] Stay well clear of surf spot for coming weeks

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belly Wednesday, 16 Sep 2020 at 7:11am

Legend @bluediamond.
Some constructive feedback (I only skimmed) but I think you could've gone a bit stronger on what is the outcome you are seeking. I'm seeing something like:
1. This groundwork has the potential to set a framework for future legal causality, and
2. Therefore if action isn't taken to modernise wastewater practices there is likely to be future reputational and cost impacts to the relevant authorities and operator(s) should the attacks continue.

In the context of a; awareness, agreement, action, type approach we're probably at the awareness stage but still.

In not a lawyer, just a commercial guy that surf's around the Tuross River area down south and I'm glad we don't have a similar situation touch wood. You mentioned you've sent it to government and media but it would be good to get the letter in front of an environmental (surfer) lawyer.

Again great stuff!!