Australian Bio Fert Works Approval granted

Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) has granted a Works Approval to Australian Bio Fertiliser P/L to construct a poultry organic waste and nutrient recovery facility at 798 Tall Tree Rd, Lethbridge.

Australian Bio Fert’s facility will thermally treat up to a maximum of 33,750 tonnes per annum of poultry industry waste in a fully contained facility to create a slow release fertiliser.

EPA’s assessment included, referring the application to Agriculture Victoria to seek its views on biosecurity risks, as well as detailed technical reviews of the proposed technology, odour generation and environmental management.

EPA engaged with the community via an online question and answer session on the Engage Victoria website and publicised the application through Engage Victoria and traditional media. Seven online questions and six submissions were received during the consultation period, with questions and concerned raised around potential biosecurity risks, traffic routes to and from the facility and odour generation.

EPA Director of Development and Infrastructure Tim Faragher said the decision was an example of industry and EPA working together.

“The applicant first approached EPA in 2016 with its novel technological approach to dealing with poultry waste and obtained a Research, Development and Demonstration Approval for a pilot-scale facility in 2017. Following the success of the trial which included environmental monitoring of the facility, testing of the material and subsequent field trials of the products, EPA issued a licence for the pilot scale facility in December 2019,” Mr Faragher said.

“This year Australian Bio Fert applied to the EPA to construct a larger commercial scale facility. Despite having a considerable buffer distance around the proposed facility’s location its design addresses biosecurity and odour risks through inclusion of a range of mitigation measures including enclosed receival and processing areas, secondary odour controls and wheel washing. All of these features are considered best practice by EPA.”

As part of the approval EPA has included routine conditions as well as specific conditions that require installation of:

• scrubbers and appropriately sized biofilters to ensure appropriate treatment of odour emissions and no offsite odours; and

• a dedicated truck wheel wash which will include the use of disinfectants and detergents to disinfect transport vehicles entering and leaving the site.

Once built, Australian Bio Fert will require an EPA licence before it can commercially operate.

The Works Approval and assessment summary are available to view at https://engage.vic.gov.au/epa-works-approvals/australian-biofert

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