THE WA meat processing industry could be crippled unless the State Government improves waste disposa

15 Feb, 2007 07:00 PM
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The lack of suitable waste management facilities was evidenced when rendering company Talloman was served with a temporary partial closure notice by the Environment Department last month.

The Craig Mostyn Group (CMG) owns the Talloman plant at Hazelmere, near Midland.

CMG rural division manager Greg Lott said the company had suffered huge losses financially from the closure.

Mr Lott said further disruption to the rendering plant could severely affect supply chains within the state¹s meat industry.

³We have lost a minimum of $500,000 during this period,² he said.

With no way of processing raw materials during the closure, the company and many abattoirs that supplied it were forced to look to landfill sites to dispose of excess waste.

The viability of landfill as a back-up to the state¹s rendering plants is in doubt because the council in charge of one licensed facility has stopped Talloman from dumping waste at the site because of odour complaints from local residents.

After more than 10 complaints from residents close to the Inkpen Road tip in Wundowie, Northam Shire instructed Talloman to stop dumping by-product there last Friday.

More than 40t of waste product was being dumped at the site each day.

Mr Lott said although the plant was up and running again this week, the temporary closure had thrust WA¹s inadequate waste management sites into the spotlight.

³The waste that we had to dispose of completely filled those landfill sites that were licensed to take raw materials in three weeks,² he said.

³So it is just as well the plant is back and running, otherwise who knows where this week¹s waste would have gone.

³While we are not yet back to full production at the plant, we are slowly building up and this has eased pressure on landfill sites.

³We are back to taking a limited amount of offal, but are not able to take blood so we are currently working with abattoirs in finding a way to dispose of that at the moment.²

The temporary partial closure order was served on Talloman after a wastewater treatment plant on the site broke down, causing local residents complaints about odours to escalate.

Mr Lott said the closure highlighted the problem of waste management in WA and said there would be limited options for processors if there was another breakdown at Talloman.

³The state government needs to be aware of this problem, because in the future it could have serious repercussions for WA, to the extent where it could put processors out of business,² he said.

Opposition agriculture spokesman and Moore MLA Gary Snook said the landfill issue was another example of poor planning by the State Government.

³The government has had ample time to redress any shortcomings in terms of waste management in this state and it has done nothing about it,² Mr Snook said.

³A committee was formed two years ago to deal with this very issue, but it is obvious that no solutions have been found.²

Mr Snook said players in the food processing chain, including farmers who grew the products, were often looked on as the ³baddies².

³The reality is that they are the ones putting the food on the table, and if products aren¹t available in supermarkets then city people are going to start questioning why,² he said.

³There is always going to be some odour from these plants, but as long as they fall within the odour standards set by the government there shouldn¹t be a problem.²

Northam Shire president Bert Llewellyn said the problem at the Inkpen Road site had arisen because of the volume of product being dumped there.

³This type of waste cannot be covered immediately and when there is a lot of it going in there will be some odour problems,² Mr Llewellyn said.

³We had to stop taking the by-product until we could get on top of what is there already and get that buried.²

p Northam abattoir stalled, page 12.

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