Healthy Environment, Healthy Community, Healthy Business

Environment Protection Authority

Waste water discharge costs Scone abattoir $150,000

Media release: 25 July 2017

The Land and Environment Court has today convicted P&M Quality Smallgoods Pty Ltd (P&M) and JBS Australia Pty Ltd (JBS) and penalised them $150,000 altogether after partially treated effluent was unlawfully discharged from the Scone Abattoir polluting a nearby creek.

The court also ordered P&M and JBS to pay the NSW Environment Protection Authority’s investigation costs of about $1,400 and its legal costs. 

Each company was prosecuted for pollution of waters and P&M, which held the environment protection licence for the abattoir, was prosecuted for a breach of a condition of its licence. The abattoir had been sold several months before the incident and was under the management of JBS. However, the environment protection licence was not transferred to JBS. P&M was penalised $48,000 for a breach of its licence and $42,000 for pollution of waters. JBS was penalised $60,000 for pollution of waters. 

EPA Chief Environmental Regulator, Mark Gifford said it is the responsibility of the licence holder to ensure licence conditions are complied with regardless of whether it carries out the licenced activities or permits another entity to do so. A licence may only be surrendered or transferred by contacting the EPA and following the prescribed process.

“The licence conditions are in place to protect the environment and community.

“The environment protection licence for the abattoir outlines an area of land that is approved for the irrigation of waste water from the Waste Water Treatment System.”

After heavy rainfall in the area JBS discharged between 70,000 litres and 140,000 litres of partially treated effluent from the abattoirs Waste Water Treatment System to a location not approved under the licence.

The incident occurred from about 26 August to 31 August 2015 and resulted in the waste water flowing approximately 350 metres over land and into Two Mile Gully Creek.

Mr Gifford said the waste water contained high levels of ammonia and nitrogen that can impact on sensitive environments.

“The discharge degraded the environment of Two Mile Gully Creek and may have impacted some aquatic organisms.”

The penalties are to be paid to the Environmental Trust for general environmental purposes.

Since the incident JBS Australia has implemented a number of changes to infrastructure and procedures to prevent a reoccurrence of the incident.

Contact: EPA Public Affairs

Page last updated: 25 July 2017