Complaints about smelly chicken manure, two excessive stockpiles and a missed deadline have cost a Willow Grove company a fine of more than $8,000.
EPA Gippsland Regional Manager Jessica Bandiera says the investigation started with members of the public reporting an unpleasant odour via EPA’s pollution reporting hotline.
“EPA officers inspected the site on Old Sale Road, Willow Grove, and found two large stockpiles of chicken manure mixed with feathers and wood chips. One stockpile was more than 60 metres long, 20 metres wide and five metres high,” Ms Bandiera said.
“Both stockpiles exceeded the size limits set out in EPA’s management and control of combustible waste guideline, designed to protect the environment and the community, and there was a strong, acrid odour,” she said.
EPA issued the company, CD & AM Schmidt and Sons Pty Ltd (operating under the name South East Organic Fertiliser), with a Pollution Abatement Notice (PAN), a legally enforceable instruction to bring the stockpiles within the allowed limits.
“The company was given two chances to comply – the original notice set a reasonable time limit, and EPA allowed an extension of time at the company’s request, but when officers returned after the extended deadline, the stockpiles still did not comply,” Ms Bandiera said.
“The size limits and other rules for stockpiling combustible and recyclable waste materials (CRWM) are easily available on the EPA website, and they are there to protect the public and Victoria’s environment,” she said.
“The message to all businesses in this case is that any member of the public has the power to report pollution, and EPA will investigate and enforce the law.”
“As well as paying a fine of $8,261, the operator of the site must still meet the requirements of the Pollution Abatement Notice,” Ms Bandiera said.
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 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
EPA’s current guideline for the management and storage of combustible recyclable and waste materials (CRWM) is available here: epa.vic.gov.au/for-business/find-a-topic/manage-industrial-waste/crwm