Quarry fights against flood slur
A BUSINESS owner has revealed he urged operators of the Wivenhoe Dam to make extra water releases in the weeks and months leading up to Ipswich’s flood disaster.
Darren Zanow, chief executive of Fernvale firm Zanow’s Sand and Gravel, said he warned Seqwater about potential flood dangers in meetings with officials in November and October last year.
Mr Zanow said he also made contact with officials in late December, weeks before the devastating flooding began on January 11. He feared his quarry
would be inundated by a possible flood and was proved correct.
“We told them we believed they were holding back too much water. They said they had to do it all by the manual,” Mr Zanow said.
“Regardless of what the manual says, common sense should have come into play.
“Any reduction in the flood levels would have made a big difference for a lot of people.”
A Seqwater spokesperson said the operation of the dam leading up to the January flooding event is the subject of a Commission of Inquiry, which began yesterday in Brisbane.
“Seqwater is required to operate the dam in accordance with all regulatory requirements, including the flood operations manual,” a spokesman said.
Mr Zanow said he was also angered by rumours his quarry played a part in the recent flooding of the township.
Allegations that noise walls at his property played a part in the flooding were untrue, he said.
He said the damage bill to his business is already $1m and he now fears some customers may stay away because of the rumours.
A phone call from a Fernvale resident to a radio station, which was later reprinted on national news websites, is believed to have been the source of the allegations.
“We’ve been a bit quiet, and I attribute that to the malicious rumours,” Mr Zanow said.
“I think some people believed them in the first instance. There was a lot of misinformation being spread, and that’s disappointing.
“Once we set them straight I think people can see we didn’t cause the flooding.”
Nearly a month has passed since the floods devastated Fernvale and its surrounds, inundating homes and causing significant damage to the Brisbane Valley Highway and other roads.
Mr Zanow said the earth walls at the quarry were not flood defences, but noise barriers.
He said his business was considering legal action over the rumours.