Bega Cheese fined for dangerous goods breach

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has fined Bega Cheese Limited, Bobbins Transport Pty Limited and an employee of the transport company for not carrying the appropriate dangerous goods transport documentation.

EPA Regional Director for South and West Gary Whytcross said that compliance with the regulations reduced the risks transport of dangerous goods could pose to the community and environment.

“Bega Cheese, the transport company and driver all had a responsibility to ensure the appropriate dangerous goods transport documentation was carried with the vehicle,”  Whytcross said.

“Having this information on what dangerous goods are being transported to hand, is particularly important if there were to be an accident; it reduces the risk to police and the emergency services personnel responding to the accident, providing crucial information to inform their response and allow them to act quickly.”

The dangerous goods offences were detected during a joint EPA, NSW Police and Roads and Maritime Services compliance operation at Bega in early 2016.

During the operation EPA officers inspected a heavy vehicle carrying 13 x 1000L intermediate bulk containers classified as dangerous goods under the Dangerous Goods (Road and Rail Transport) Act 2008.

The EPA fined Bega Cheese $1,300 for consigning dangerous goods for transport without compliant transport documentation.

The transport company, Bobbins Transport was fined $2,000 for failing to ensure compliant transport documentation was carried and the driver of the vehicle was fined $260 for failure to carry transport documentation.

NSW EPA fines Allied Mills for waste water discharge and offensive odours

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has fined flour supplier Allied Mills $30,000 for two pollution incidents at its Tamworth starch factory.

In both incidents, poor maintenance led to waste water being discharged at a very high temperature into stormwater drain, and on another occasion, untreated onto a nearby farm causing an offensive odour for local residents.

NSW EPA Acting Manager Armidale Region Lindsay Fulloon said the incidents and fines highlighted that it pays to stay on top of routine maintenance.

“These incidents put aquatic life in the Peel River at risk and caused significant inconvenience to the community. The unfortunate thing is, both could have been avoided with regular equipment checks.”

The first incident occurred on 25 October 2015. Waste water was discharged to the stormwater system at a very high temperature of 68.2 degrees Celsius, which is considered to be thermal water pollution.

EPA officers investigated and concluded that Allied Mill failed to comply with required maintenance procedures, causing the pollution incident. The EPA subsequently issued Allied Mills with a $15,000 fine for contravening the conditions of their licence and failing to operate and maintain plant and equipment in a proper and efficient manner.

Allied Mills were issued with a second $15,000 fine for a separate incident where untreated waste water was irrigated on to farm land on Scott Road, prompting several local residents to contact the EPA with concerns about offensive odours.

Under their environment protective licence, Allied Mills is permitted to pipe waste water to the farm for storage, treatment and disposal by irrigation. However, in late January this year, an employee at the farm closed a valve that switched the pH dosing system off, subsequently resulting in untreated waste water being used to irrigate the farm.

The EPA understands that Allied Mills is implementing a major upgrade of their factory in Marius Street, Tamworth. This upgrade is designed to deliver significant environmental improvements, including a 90 per cent reduction of pollutant concentrations in the waste water that is being piped to the irrigation farm.

Image: Grain Products Australia

EPA fines Baiada Poultry

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has fined Baiada Poultry Pty Ltd (Baiada) $15,000 after an unauthorised and uncontrolled discharge of waste from its poultry abattoir premises at Out Street, Tamworth on 20 August 2015.

The EPA investigated after Baiada self-reported the spill to the EPA’s Environment Line.

The EPA’s Acting Director North Branch, Brett Nudd, said the spill had been caused by multiple equipment failures in the site’s first flush collection system, which is designed to divert pollutants from the abattoir yard to an on-site waste water treatment system.

“A pump failure resulted in wastewater overflowing from the first flush system into an offsite stormwater drain,” he said.

“The high water level alarm also failed as a result of low voltage in the battery, which had not charged efficiently,” Nudd said.

Nudd said that the incident would have been prevented if scheduled maintenance had been carried out as planned.

“Baiada were due to carry out maintenance on its first flush collection system in May 2015 – this did not occur due to a lack of suitably trained staff.”

“Maintenance has previously been identified as an issue for concern at Baiada’s Out Street premises.”

The incident contravened the conditions of Baiada’s Environment Protection Licence which is an offence under section 64 of the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 (POEO Act).

“Baiada are responsible for carrying out licensed activities in a competent manner as well as maintaining and operating all equipment at the premises in a proper and efficient manner,” Nudd said.

“While there was no evidence of environmental harm as a result of this incident, it’s vital that companies effectively maintain their equipment and premises to avoid putting the environment and local communities at risk.”

“To their credit Baiada took prompt, appropriate clean up and preventative action in response to the incident and have put considerable funds into rectifying issues with the first flush system on site.”

 

NSW EPA opens latest round of organics Infrastructure grants

The NSW EPA has opened Round 4 of the Organics Infrastructure (large and small) grants program for applications. Grants between $25,000 and $5 million are available to build or supply the infrastructure needed to divert food and organic garden waste from landfill.

The program is being delivered in partnership with the Environmental Trust, as part of the $465.7 million Waste Less Recycle More program. Applications are invited from local councils, industry, business and not-for-profit organisations.

EPA Chair and CEO, Barry Buffier said the aim of the program is to increase infrastructure and equipment to increase recycling capacity for food and garden waste in NSW or improve opportunities to redistribute good food to people in need.

“This program is part of a comprehensive strategy underway in NSW to get food and garden waste out of landfill,” said Buffier.

“It includes education through Love Food Hate Waste, new green-lid kerbside collection services and this funding for infrastructure to redistribute good food to people need or recycle avoidable food waste into compost.

“Now in this fourth and final round, I encourage organisations who have not yet applied for an infrastructure grant and who have projects that can be substantially completed by June next year to put in an application.”

Applications are invited across three streams:

Stream 1 – Food and Garden Organics Processing

For major equipment and infrastructure at processing facilities to process more food and/or garden waste collected from households and businesses.

Stream 2 – Business Organics Recycling

For equipment, like composting systems and commercial worm farms, to process food and/or garden waste onsite at large businesses or institutions like prisons, hospitals, universities and aged care.

Stream 3 – Food Donation

To fund infrastructure, like vans, fridges and freezers, to enable food relief agencies to collect and redistribute more surplus food from businesses to people in need.

Environmental Trust Senior Grants Manager, Peter Dixon said applications are open for Round 4 until Wednesday 13 July 2016.

“The Trust has a long history in working with Local Government, industry, non-government organisations and community groups in tackling waste, recycling and sustainability issues,” he said.

“This program, focussed on organics recovery, is helping to build the capacity in NSW to do something better with food and garden waste than dumping it in landfill.”

NSW EPA invites applications for food waste reduction grants

The NSW EPA has opened applications for the fourth round of its ‘Love Food Hate Waste grants’, aimed at projects to reduce food waste in NSW.

The program is being delivered in partnership with the Environmental Trust, as part of the $465.7 million Waste Less Recycle More program.

EPA Chair and CEO, Barry Buffier said $470, 000 is available for local councils, NGOs, and community groups to raise awareness of food waste in NSW households and businesses.

“Each year in NSW, 800,000 tonnes of food waste ends up in landfill from households and 170,000 tonnes from business, which is why these grants that help to reduce food waste are so important,” Mr Buffier said.

“Now in this fourth and final round I encourage any councils who have not yet applied and who have projects that can be completed by June 30 next year to put in an application.”

Buffier said the Love Food Hate Waste education program, is part of a comprehensive strategy to reduce organics waste across NSW.

“The Government has been working steadily to meet the ambitious target to divert 75 percent of all waste from landfill by 2021,” he said.

“When NSW households waste, on average, over $1,000 a year on food which is thrown away, food waste avoidance initiatives can make a big difference in the amount of household waste being recovered and recycled in NSW rather than dumped.”

Environmental Trust Senior Manager Grants, Peter Dixon, said applications for this round of funding close at 5pm on Tuesday 14 June 2016.

“The Trust has a long history in working with Local Government, non-government organisations and community groups in tackling waste, recycling and sustainability issues.

“This program is a great continuation of that, with the EPA and Trust working together to fund projects to educate and inform NSW households and businesses on ways to reduce food waste.”

The Love Food Hate Waste grants are delivered by the NSW Environment Protection Authority and the NSW Environmental Trust in partnership as part of Waste Less, Recycle More, a five year initiative that is transforming waste management and recycling in NSW.

NSW EPA offering food and organics waste collection systems grants

Round 4 of the Local Government Organics Collection Systems grants are now open for councils to apply for funding to reduce and recycle food waste in NSW.

The program is being delivered in partnership with the Environmental Trust, as part of the $465.7 million Waste Less Recycle More program.

EPA Chair and CEO, Barry Buffier said up to $1.3 million is available for local councils to introduce new or enhanced collection services for food and organic waste.

“Each year in NSW, 800,000 tonnes of food waste ends up in landfill from households while businesses contribute 170,000 tonnes. This is why these grants that support collection services are so important.

“Already in the first three rounds we have awarded $15.8 million to 38 councils to collect an estimated 144,000 tonnes more food and garden waste a year. We have also provided 552,669 new green lid bins and kitchen caddies to more than 230,000 homes.

“Now in this fourth and final round, I encourage councils with projects that can be completed by June next year to put in an application, if they have not done so already.

The Local Government Organics Collections Systems grants program is part of a comprehensive strategy to transform organics waste collections across NSW.

“The Government has been working steadily towards its target of providing 70 per cent of NSW homes with kerbside organics collections services by 2017,” Mr Buffier said.

The funding provides a unique opportunity for councils to improve services that will assist residents preserve their local environment.

“Currently approximately 45 per cent of a red lid bin is made up of organics waste, so these new collection services will make a big difference in the amount of household waste being recovered and recycled in NSW.

“In landfill, organics waste breaks down to generate greenhouse gas emissions and leachate. By recycling this waste into compost, then soil quality, water retention and crop yields benefit.

The Local Government Organics Collections Systems grants will transform waste management and recycling in NSW.

Applications close on Thursday 19 May 2016.

EPA fines P & M Quality SmallGoods for emission of offensive odours

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has issued an $8,000 fine to P & M Quality SmallGoods (Primo), for the emission of offensive odours from its Scone site on 21 January 2016.

 EPA Manager Hunter Region, Adam Gilligan, said the EPA issued the penalty notice following ongoing concerns about offensive odours and non-compliance at this site.

“The EPA has received a number of complaints regarding this site in recent months” Gilligan continued.  

“On this occasion, the odour was caused by a series of breakdowns and a power failure in the abattoir’s rendering plant. During the breakdown the company stored a large amount of fresh offal in refrigerated containers before transporting the offal to an offsite rendering plant. This led to the emission of offensive odours.

“Odours have a real impact on the comfort of local residents. In this case, residents reported that they stopped outdoor activities and remained inside their homes until the odour dissipated.

“The EPA relies on the community to report environmental issues, such as offensive odours, and we will always act on reports where sensitive receptors are impacted. This includes homes, schools, public space adjacent to a residential area or hospitals, or places where a person’s regular daily life might be affected.”

The EPA is considering further regulatory action should offensive odours continue to be emitted from the premises, which may include varying the licence to add a pollution reduction program aimed at tackling the odour issue.

P & M Quality SmallGoods has indicated improvement works are planned to reduce odour issues on site, in particular upgrades to the company’s waste water treatment process.

Image: Newcastle Herald

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