Industry News, Opinion, Victoria, Victoria

EPA Victoria: Dairy spill was avoidable

Dairy company fined

EPA Victoria says some farms are still failing to manage dairy effluent, after it fined a West Gippsland company more than $9,000 for letting a 1000 litres of effluent escape into a creek.

The company was issued with remedial notices requiring it so stop any discharges from the property and fix its dairy effluent management system.

Gippsland Regional Manager Jessica Bandiera says dairy effluent spills are easily preventable with routine maintenance, and yet they are still happening.

EPA has promoted the issue in local media, conducted inspection sweeps and given direct advice on farms, and yet we are still having to issue fines over spills caused by a simple lack of maintenance,” Bandiera said.

Read more: Charges laid over tyre stockpile

“In the latest case, proper maintenance on the farm at Poowong North could have prevented both the spill and the expense of the fine.”

EPA officers inspected the Poowong North farm on 24 May 2023 after receiving a report from the public. They found two effluent ponds completely full, a drain leading from one to an unnamed tributary of Pheasant Creek and a pipe that was discharging liquid along the drain and into the waterway.

They also found effluent runoff from a paddock entering a stormwater drain that led to a neighbouring property and eventually to Pheasant Creek.

EPA issued a $9,246 fine to JDA Farm Investments Pty Ltd of Drouin-Korumburra Road Poowong North, for depositing more than 1,000 litres of dairy effluent into an unnamed tributary of Pheasant Creek, in contravention of Section 115 of the Environment Protection Act 2017.

“Properly managed dairy effluent is a valuable fertiliser on your own farm, but once it escapes into a waterway it is an environmental hazard,” Bandiera said.

“As well as potentially killing off fish and other aquatic life in the creek, this kind of pollution does neighbouring farms no favours at all, it can spread disease and affect their stock.”

Under the Environment Protection Act 2017 and the Infringements Act 2006, the operator has the right to have the infringement notice reviewed or be considered by a court.

Send this to a friend