Abattoir company fined and ordered to control smell

Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) has fined a Poowong Abattoir over offensive odour affecting nearby residents, and required the company to plan improvements to prevent odour from escaping the premises in future.

GBP Australia Pty Ltd has been fined $8,261 for breaching its licence conditions with an offensive odour that escaped the property.

EPA Gippsland Regional Manager Jessica Bandiera says repeated reports from nearby residents prompted the investigation.

“The odour problem was particularly bad through the 2019/20 summer, and neighbours described a rancid/rotten smell that drifted to their homes,” Ms Bandiera said.

“The transient nature of odour made it necessary to conduct a series of inspections. Then in February, an inspection of the Gardner Lane premises at Poowong found odour was clearly present,” she said.

“The EPA officers are specially trained to classify odours; they detected a strong odour with rendering and meaty characteristics near the premises’ biofilter, and a strong odour with rendering and cheese characteristics near the rendering plant shed,” she said.

EPA issued a Pollution Abatement Notice (PAN) requiring the company to develop a plan to prevent offsite odour from the plant, and the company has complied with the notice. EPA also recommended that the company make improvements to its biofilter and the building to reduce the likelihood of odour escaping in future.

EPA plans to issue the company with a second PAN, requiring it to put its odour control plan into action.

“A case like this is disappointing because while the odour was not constant, making it difficult to prove with a single inspection, it was quite obviously an offensive odour that was leaving the premises,” Ms Bandiera said.

“The company could have voluntarily undertaken work to contain the odour and avoided a fine, saved the time spent by EPA on the investigation, and prevented considerable discomfort to nearby residents,” she said.

“Businesses have a clear responsibility to the community when it comes to problems with odour, and if they don’t meet that responsibility, EPA will take regulatory action to bring their activities into compliance with the law.”

Under the Environment Protection Act 1970 and the Infringements Act 2006, the company has the right to have the decision to issue the infringement notice reviewed or alternatively to have the matter heard and determined by a court.

Members of the public can report pollution by calling EPA’s 24 hour hotline on 1300 EPA VIC (1300 372 842).

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