Nambucca Valley sewage overflows

The EPA has imposed a Pollution Reduction Program on Environment Protection Licence 579 – Macksville Sewage Treatment Plant that requires Nambucca Valley Council to assess and repair the sewage reticulation system to prevent overflows.

Nambucca Valley Council has experienced numerous overflows from their sewage reticulation system particularly during wet weather events. The sewage reticulation systems require significant assessment and capital works to reduce the number of overflows which can impact water quality in the Nambucca River.

On 11 January 2023, the EPA updated environment protection licence 579 – Macksville Sewage Treatment Plant to include a Pollution Reduction Program (PRP) requiring Council to assess and repair the sewage reticulation system. Council are on track with their assessment works and the next step is to provide details from the assessment program to the EPA.

An interagency working group has been established which consists of the NSW EPA, NSW Shellfish Program (NSW Food Authority), Department of Primary Industries – Fisheries, Public Works, Department of Planning and Environment (DPE) – Water, Nambucca Valley Council and DPE’s Environment and Heritage Group. The working group meets monthly to hear progress updates from Council.

The EPA and Council have commenced an ongoing water quality monitoring program. The results obtained from this monitoring program are being used to establish baseline data which will inform future sewer modelling. The data is also being used to better understand other risks that may be impacting Nambucca River which will help inform actions that can be taken to improve water quality in the area.



  • Lanes Bridge – Bowraville
  • Taylors Arm – upstream of Macksville
  • Macksville Jetty
  • downstream of Macksville – Nambucca River downstream of Macksville sewage treatment plant

These locations are indicated on the map below.

Map showing locations of water quality sampling in the Nambucca River

Parameters being tested for

  • Total suspended solids (mg/l)
  • Biochemical Oxygen Demand  (mg/l)
  • Total Oils and Grease (mg/l)
  • Total Nitrogen (mg/l)
  • Total Phosphorus (mg/l)
  • Nitrite Nitrogen (mg/l)
  • Nitrate Nitrogen (mg/l)
  • Oxidized Nitrogen (mg/L)
  • Total coliforms (cfu/100ml) (first sampling round only)
  • Thermotolerant Coliforms (cfu/100ml) (all subsequent rounds)
  • E.Coli (cfu/100ml)