Manilla residents raise river concerns

THE Environment Protection Authority will hold an information day in Manilla next month after residents raised concerns about possible contamination of the local river.

The EPA announced on Tuesday it had taken samples from the Manilla River last month  to test nutrient and bacteria levels in response to a number of calls from local residents concerned about possible salmonella contamination from a nearby poultry farm.

Armidale region EPA manager Simon Smith said department officers had visited the town and taken samples to test the water quality in the Manilla and Namoi rivers, but found no evidence to suggest any fault on the part of the poultry farm. 

“Results from nutrient tests showed that the water quality in the Manilla River was good,” he said.

 “Bacteriological tests show that there were elevated levels of coliform bacteria in the water. 

“Elevated bacterial contamination can occur from pollution with animal or human waste, but our results last month do not point to a single source of contamination. 

“The lack of rain and animals grazing along the rive banks in the areas immediately adjacent to the sampling sites is the most likely reason why we saw elevated levels in our samples.”

Mr Smith said the EPA were planning an information day for local residents in the wake of the complaints, with officers available to discuss water testing methods, the results of sampling programs and answer general questions about water quality.

The “drop-in day” is on Monday, September 22, on the riverbank in Manilla.

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