Clarence Valley Council mayor Jim Simmons and director corporate Ashley Lindsay.
Clarence Valley Council mayor Jim Simmons and director corporate Ashley Lindsay.

‘BIG WHACK’: Was this council's largest budget blowout ever?

THE final cost for Lower Clarence sewage works has been revealed, and it it isn't pretty.

The rehabilitation of the former Maclean, Townsend and Ilarwill Sewage Treatment Plants has cost Clarence Valley Council $4,109,767, representing a budget blowout of 2,159,767.

Council Water Cycle Manager Greg Mashiah had said back in July the State Government had "moved the goalposts" after sampling for the chemical PFAS was required after Ledonne Constructions was contracted to clean up the sites.

Mayor Jim Simmons noted in the meeting that "addressing these issues extended the duration of the rehabilitation contract which incurred additional project management cost."

"It is a cost that council didn't have much option with, the work had to be done," he said.

PFAS has come into the spotlight in recent years after there were health and environmental concerns with the chemical, most notably in its use as firefighting foam.

It was noted in council documents before the Corporate, Governance & Works Committee there was still the likelihood the final cost would come down when the site was sold.

The officer's recommendation was to list the lot adjacent to the STP site for sale.

However, manager of Works and Civil, Troy Anderson said the land was "not considered to be very saleable land at all."

Councillor Karen Toms said the budget overrun was "certainly the largest budget variation that I can recall in my time as a councillor" and was concerned with what was to come for council when they looked to rehabilitate other STPs.

"But I agree with the Mayor, it is obviously something that we didn't have any choice over," she said.

"It concerns me greatly, what might happen with our next sewer treatment plant that needs to be rehabilitated.

"This $2.1 million is certainly a big whack to our sewer fund."