Over the past week, communities around the foreshore of Tuggerah Lakes and in the valleys, banded together to start the massive mopping up after the flooding caused by more than 400mm of torrential rain over six days.
Once the rain stopped, the flood waters receded quickly and by 3pm on Wednesday, March 24, the water level in Tuggerah Lake had dropped to 0.86m, and was still falling below the minor flood level of 0.9m with no further flooding expected.
Then came the clean-up.
Over the weekend of March 27 and 28, Central Coast Council crews collected 87 tonnes of seagrass wrack from around 1.6kms of Tuggerah Lakes foreshore.
Acting CEO, Rik Hart, said he was appreciative to see how the community had come together to support Council’s clean-up.
“We all know that natural materials, especially seagrass and seaweed, wash up on our foreshores after these events,” Hart said.
“Over the weekend we received many reports from community groups and members who had noticed debris washing up on our beaches, in some cases they have worked together to safely move these items up away from the water, ready for us to collect.
“In other cases, the items were too large or dangerous to move and the community alerted us to the location of these objects.
“By doing this, they have made it much easier for us to know where the hot spots are.”
Beaches are still closed until at least Wednesday, March 31, and while Council continues to monitor water quality, it is recommended not to swim in the lakes, estuarine waterways or the beaches.
Boaters are warned to be on the lookout for floating debris.
“The damage to our local roads has been much worse than we have seen before and our crews have been hard at work.
“Since last Saturday, we have repaired more than 2,600 potholes,” Hart said.
“We understand that there are many residents still cleaning up as well.
“Residents can place seagrass and vegetation debris in a safe location next to access roads or pathways within foreshore reserves, or on the kerbside outside their property and we will come and collect it,” Hart said.
Once placed on the kerbside, phone Council on 1300 463 954 for a Tuggerah Lakes Seagrass Clean-up booking.
Small amounts of seagrass can go into the weekly kerbside bin collection which is continuing as usual, even over the Easter break, and residents can book a bulk kerbside collection for excess garden waste of flood affected furniture.
For rubbish that needs to go to the tip, there are reduced fees at the Buttonderry Waste Management Facility.
Sandbags should be split to remove sand and place in your garden where it won’t wash away and then place the bags in the red bins.
Council will remove fallen trees and debris from the road and public reserves over coming weeks.
Apart from assistance with mopping up, some residents might be requiring other means of support through this state of natural disaster.
Resilience NSW is the lead disaster management agency responsible for all aspects of disaster recovery.
An evacuation reception centre has been set up by Disaster Welfare Services, Resilience NSW, to assist community members affected by flooding.
The centre at the Diggers’ Club at 315 The Entrance Rd, Long Jetty is operating 24/7.
A number of agencies are onsite to offer support including: Chaplaincy Network, Red Cross, Disaster Welfare Assistance, Housing Contact Centre, Salvation Army, Local Land Services and Samaritans.
The NSW and Australian governments have announced a disaster recovery assistance package.
If your home or belongings have been damaged or destroyed, a lump sum payment of $1,000 for eligible adults and $400 for each eligible child under the age of 16 may be available.
Support for impacted small businesses, primary producers and non-profit organisations is also available.