Port MacQuarie’s port is being hammered by stormwater contamination that could reach the national sewer system, with the city now at risk of breaching a target of $300m worth of damage to its facilities, a city spokesperson said.
The city of Port Macqarie, on the Queensland coast, has recorded nearly $100 million in damage from rainfall, coastal flooding and coastal erosion in the past five years.
Port MacQarie’s new mayor has promised a “zero tolerance” approach to pollution, and will not allow anyone to pollute the city’s water supply, despite its size and proximity to the coast.
The Government has promised to pay for stormwater remediation of more than 20,000 kilometres of the coast, but some of the costs will be borne by the Government’s water utility.
It has been estimated the cost could be $250 million.
“It’s not just about protecting the water, it’s about protecting our city,” Mayor Tom Smith said.
“We’ve got to get this right.”
In the past week, Port Macquitarie has been hit with three major storms.
On Thursday, the storm dumped up to four metres of rain in the CBD.
The storm also destroyed a sewage pipe, and washed out the local roads.
On Friday, the rainfall and water damage prompted a police investigation into the leaking pipes, which are a matter for the NSW Police.
On Saturday, more rain followed.
The flooding and flooding damaged the nearby Great Western Hotel, which is owned by the Queensland Government, and the Queensland State Government.
It is estimated up to 50 per cent of the city centre will need to be rebuilt.
The damage has also forced the closure of the port’s main terminal.
A city spokesperson, who asked not to be named, said the port was at its highest flood risk level at this time.
The Port Macdonald Regional Council said in a statement it was working with the Department of Environment and Water Resources (DEPREC) and other stakeholders to identify the best way to mitigate stormwater, as well as to ensure the city was meeting its targets.
“DEPREC is currently engaged with the local community, state and federal authorities to identify options to reduce stormwater impacts,” the statement read.
“The City is also committed to making a full and frank assessment of the extent of any damage to the port before it is deemed appropriate to proceed with construction.”