EPA intolerant of dairy discharge

A bad smell of rancid milk and a leak into a creek have cost a Tullamarine cheese company an $8,000 fine from Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA).

Alba Cheese Manufacturing Pty Ltd will also be required to install controls to prevent contamination of the stormwater system from their operations.

EPA Regional Manager for the Northern Metropolitan Region, Jeremy Settle, says the investigation started with a report from the public of discoloured water entering a local creek.

“A member of the public had seen what they described as milky coloured water flowing from a stormwater outlet into Steele Creek,” Mr Settle said.

“EPA officers took water samples and photos at the creek, and could smell a fatty/animal odour with an off-milk characteristic,” he said.

“They traced the contaminated water back to the Alba Cheese premises in Assembly Drive, Tullamarine, taking samples from an onsite stormwater drain that was contaminated with casein, a dairy protein.”

“Further investigation identified a link between the stormwater drain and Steele Creek,”

A company manager advised EPA that the business normally treats and sends any contaminated water from its cheese factory to the sewerage system under a trade waste agreement.

“Businesses must take their impact on the environment seriously,” Mr Settle said.

“A nutrient rich contaminant like milk can kill off a creek’s aquatic life, and encourage bacteria or an algal bloom, which is hazardous to people, pets and waterways downstream,” he said.

“And it creates an odour that is not welcome in any creek, whether it flows through a residential or industrial area.”

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.

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