Council secures multi-million dollar grant to fix NRLX effluent ponds

A NSW Government grant worth $5,750,000 will enable Richmond Valley Council to upgrade the Northern Rivers Livestock Exchange’s (NRLX) wastewater management system to comply with EPA requirements.

The NRLX’s effluent treatment system consists of two sedimentation lagoons, a facultative pond and an effluent polishing pond.

The sedimentation ponds were damaged during the 2022 flooding events, resulting in significant slumping and destabilisation of their walls and posing a potential risk of failure and downstream impacts.

The NSW Government’s Infrastructure Betterment Fund grant will allow Richmond Valley Council to carry out extensive work to increase the ponds’ wall heights as well as the stabilisation and improvement of pond walls.

Council’s General Manager Vaughan Macdonald welcomed the funding, saying it would help to complete the NRLX’s transition to a modern, fully-compliant facility. Council has previously invested $15m in upgrading the saleyards, and the next key focus for improvement was upgrading the effluent management system, Mr Macdonald said.

“Unfortunately, due to an historical lack of funding to maintain and improve the system, it had reached the point where substantial investment was required to meet modern regulatory standards.

“The funding will be used to strengthen the ponds’ walls, as well as desludging, remediating and upgrading the system, to ensure that risks to the environment, human health and safety are effectively managed in the future,” he said.

Apart from supporting the future operation of the saleyards, the effluent management system also serves the onsite truck wash system, which is essential for the livestock transport industry moving stock across the country.

“The truck wash system annually provides over 4000 livestock transport vehicles with essential facilities to meet environmental and safety requirements for removing livestock effluent from their vehicles, so it doesn’t end up on the road network.

“This announcement brings the funding partnership between the Australian and NSW Governments and Richmond Valley Council since 2016, to more than $20 million being invested into the NRLX, setting the facility up for its next phase of growth and operations, with the forthcoming open tender leasing opportunity.”

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