George Weston Foods fine for fatty fluids

George Weston Foods, a manufacturer of Don KRC products, pleaded guilty to the charges, relating to two incidents in February last year.

The company was ordered to pay $60,000 to fund an environmental project in Victoria’s Mt Alexander Shire.

The company’s Castlemaine site produces ham, bacon, shaved meats and salami; also producing significant volumes of waste, which are meant to be treated by an onsite treatment plant or properly disposed of to sewer.

The court heard that in early February 2009, Environment Protection Agency (EPA) Victoria received community reports about odour along Barkers Creek. An investigation of the reports confirmed a fatty substance in the dry creek bed, which was subsequently traced backed to the company and was caused by an incorrect connection to the stormwater system rather than the sewer line.

Three weeks later liquid waste escaped into a table drain, via the stormwater system.

EPA chief executive officer John Merritt said it was disappointing to have two incidents in such a short time frame from the same company.

“The court result shows that companies need to understand their environmental obligations or risk action from EPA to protect the environment,” he said.

The company has fixed the plant issues that lead to the incidents.

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