EPA fines cheese maker

EPA Victoria has fined Yering cheese maker Yarra Valley Dairy Pty Ltd more than $9,000 over a strong odour affecting neighbouring properties in the wine country of the Yarra Valley.

The fine is for failing to fully comply with an EPA remedial notice that required improvements to its wastewater treatment to stop odour escaping the premises on McMeikans Rd, Yering.

EPA Northern Metropolitan Regional Manager Jeremy Settle says the company was given several months to comply.

“After a VCAT challenge to our original notice issued in May 2021, we issued an amended notice in October, but when EPA officers arrived in December to check on compliance, the odour on St Huberts Rd was strong enough to cause discomfort when facing into the wind,” Mr Settle said.

“The company had complied with some of EPA’s requirements, but not all, and the odour was still there,” he said.

The EPA officers described the smell as sour milk odour with earthy characteristics that at one location downwind of the premises became increasingly uncomfortable to be near.

They found that although the company had complied with EPA’s order to submit a management plan developed by a qualified expert to reduce odour, it had failed to put all of the plan into action and was still causing unreasonable impact to the community.

“The message to all businesses is that any EPA remedial notice gives a set of instructions with a clear deadline, and must be taken seriously,” Mr Settle said.

“It’s there to protect the community and the environment, and everyone running a business must understand their responsibilities,” he said

The company has been fined $9,087 for contravening Section 31A(7) of the Environment Protection Act 1970.

Under the Environment Protection Act 1970 and the Infringements Act 2006, the operator has the right to have the infringement notice reviewed or be considered by a court.

Members of the public can report odour and other forms of pollution by calling EPA’s 24 hour hotline on 1300 EPA VIC (1300 372 842) or providing details online at epa.vic.gov.au/report-pollution/reporting-pollution

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