Healthy Environment, Healthy Community, Healthy Business

Environment Protection Authority

Baiada Poultry fined $15,000 for uncontrolled discharge

Media release: 5 July 2016

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,” Mr Nudd said.

Mr 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,” Mr 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.”

Penalty Notices are one of a number of tools the EPA can use to achieve environmental compliance, including formal warnings, official cautions, licence conditions, notices and directions, mandatory audits, enforceable undertakings, legally binding pollution reduction programs and prosecutions.

The EPA must also take a range of factors into account before delivering a proportionate regulatory response, including the degree of environmental harm, whether or not there are any real or potential health impacts, if the action of the offender was deliberate, compliance history, public interest and best environmental outcomes.

For more information about the EPA’s regulatory tools, see the EPA Compliance Policy http://www.epa.nsw.gov.au/legislation/prosguid.htm.

Contact: EPA Public Affairs

Page last updated: 05 July 2016