BEEF producers in WA are facing the loss of even more abattoirs if measures are not taken to improve

24 Jan, 2007 08:45 PM
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The notice was directed to the Hazelmere-based Talloman rendering plant to either empty or cover one of its wastewater ponds following complaints from residents in the area about odour levels.

Gingin abattoir owner Ned Borrello, who runs Gingin Meatworks, has urged the State Government to intervene, saying the issue could have a huge effect on rural WA.

Mr Borrello said the situation would have a serious impact on his business and other abattoirs around the state.

³We are facing a serious loss of revenue if this situation is not resolved,² he said.

³Talloman is one of the only renderers in the state that can handle large volumes of raw material.

³The options to go to landfill sites are very limited as there are not many in WA that take raw materials.

³Thankfully, Gingin Shire has been very helpful in finding a landfill site in Seabird where we can deposit this week¹s raw materials, but I don¹t know what we are going to do next week.²

Mr Borello said his plant processed 60,000 head of cattle a year and produced 45t of by-product a day.

³Finding somewhere to dispose of that raw material is not easy,² he said.

³Landfill is just another cost that we will be forced to incur.

³At least when the by-product is getting processed we are receiving something for it.

³If we can¹t process our raw material then the extra cost of disposing of it would have to be recouped somewhere and more than likely it will be passed on to the price of beef in the supermarket.²

Mr Borrello said the State Government needed to interv-ene to ensure the situation was rectified as soon as possible.

³It is just another case of regulation that has a negative impact on the industry,² he said.

³The State Government talks about promoting industry growth, particularly in regional areas, but regulations make it hard for us to run ‹ let alone develop ‹ a business because there is so much red tape.

³(Agriculture Minister) Kim Chance cannot afford to sit on his hands on this one; something needs to be done to find a solution to this problem, and quickly.²

Beaufort River Meats principal Joe Macri is another abattoir owner concerned about the temporary partial closure of the Talloman plant.

Mr Macri said all his by-product was supplied to the plant and because of the situation he was forced to use landfill to dispose of his waste.

³I haven¹t had any problems as yet finding landfill sites, but it is an expensive way to dispose of waste and is probably not that good for the environment either,² he said.

Mr Macri said there was a real problem developing in Perth in terms of planning.

³The rendering plant has being on that site for 50 years and it is surrounded by other industries also so there has obviously being a breakdown in the planning process if residential properties are allowed into the area,² he said.

Mr Macri said he had concerns for future waste management if the situation wasn¹t resolved.

³Something needs to be done to rectify the situation otherwise processors in this state are going to run into all sorts of problems in disposing of waste material,² he said.

Talloman processes 2000t of raw material per week and receives material from nine meatworks and various butcher shops around the state.

While there are other tallow plants in WA, none of them are capable of handling the volume processed by Talloman.

The Talloman operation is run by the Craig Mostyn Group, whose rural division general manager Greg Lott confirmed that the company had complied with a requirement to cease using its wastewater treatment plant until the DEC was satisfied it was functioning properly.

³We are complying with the DEC conditions and are working around the clock to get the wastewater treatment plant back on line,² Mr Lott said.

³Some of the material we receive is still able to be processed, some has had to be diverted to other renderers and the balance has gone to landfill.²

Mr Lott said the plant had been in its current location for 50 years and operated under a licence from the DEC.

³In recent years housing estates have been allowed to be built in close proximity to the plant, bringing additional scrutiny of odour emissions onto the plant,² he said.

³We have had discussions with the Agriculture Department regarding responses to our current situation and the impact on WA¹s meat industry.

³We are still awaiting feedback from them.²

Mr Lott said relocating the plant was an option, but there were two issues affecting that move.

³Firstly, finding a suitable location that has proximity to main transport routes and is not too far from suppliers, and secondly funding the estimated $30 million cost to relocate,² he said.

DEC environmental regulation and response manager Ken Raine said the notice served on Talloman was only for the plant to stop using its wastewater treatment plant.

³They can still operate, they just can¹t use the wastewater treatment plant,² he said.

³The facility had a problem with the breakdown of its wastewater treatment plant in December and we received a large number of complaints in relation to odour emissions over the Christmas period from residents up to 5km away.²

Mr Raine said the notice also required Talloman to pump out or cover one of the waste lagoons.

³We are inspecting the site regularly and don¹t believe it is a processing issue, it is basically a failure of a liquid waste treatment plant on the site,² he said.

³Talloman is cooperating with the DEC.²

p Rendering plant plans for Linley Valley, see page 13.

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