The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has fined a Lake Macquarie waste management facility $8,000 for alleged offensive odours.
The EPA received numerous complaints from residents and neighbours about a nauseating smell from the Remondis Australia Pty Ltd facility at Awaba on 14 and 15 April 2021.
Attending EPA officers immediately detected strong putrid odours which were traced to a stockpile of composting material at the site. The officers identified that aerators being used to dry out compost following intense rain were discharging putrid air, which were travelling to the nearby community.
EPA Director Regulatory Operations Adam Gilligan said it was unacceptable for the community to be impacted by odours.
“People reported feeling nauseous from the overpowering odour,” Mr Gilligan said. “Residents should not have to endure smells that make them feel ill.
“We don’t want to see residents unable to enjoy their homes and gardens.
“The EPA is aware of how this incident affected the surrounding community – every complaint made to our Environment Line is logged and looked into.
“It is an offence for any licenced facility to emit offensive odours to the surrounding community and that is why the EPA has issued this fine.”
Remondis co-operated with the EPA investigation and made changes to the way operations are carried out at the facility, particularly following extreme wet weather.
Aeration equipment is now only used by Remondis during the day and in certain wind conditions, rather than at night when the atmosphere is still, which can cause odours to linger.
Lake Macquarie Council and Remondis are continuing to work with the EPA to improve operations at the facility and reduce the impact of odour on the community.
Residents who experience odours are encouraged to make a report to the EPA’s 24-hour Environment Line on 131 555.