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EPA considers proposal for meat processing facility on King Island

The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has concluded its assessment of a proposed abattoir, render and composting facility at Lymwood on King Island.

The proposal by King Island Meat Processing Pty Ltd is to produce a maximum of 10,000 tonnes of meat products per year.

As part of the abattoir process the company proposes to process offcuts, viscera and carcasses in a high temperature continuous rendering plant to produce meat meal and tallow, and to compost all residual abattoir waste, predominately manure, paunch and wastewater-sludge. The proposed wastewater treatment plant will treat the processing waste water and compost leachate (liquid waste) to produce up to 300 kilolitres of potable water per day for re-use at the facility. Skins will be salted and marketed interstate.

The Chair of the EPA Board, Mr Warren Jones, said that the Board concluded the proposed development could be managed in an environmentally sustainable and acceptable manner, with certain conditions. The EPA requires these conditions to be included in any permit subsequently granted by the King Island Council.

Ten representations were received in relation to the permit application, which was referred to the Board in October 2017. The environmental issues raised in these representations related to the risk of surface water and groundwater contamination, threats to the natural values down stream of the Pegarah Plateau, and the potential for odour and noise. Public consultation was open for a 28 day period commencing 2 September 2017.

"Various environmental issues were considered by the Board in its assessment, particularly the management of liquid waste and odour emissions, and the conditions required to address them," Mr Jones said.

"Environmental conditions of the permit apply to construction, air emissions, composting, groundwater protection, monitoring, noise control, contingency management, stormwater management and wastewater management," he said.

Mr Jones explained that the company would need to implement and act in accordance with various monitoring and management plans approved by the EPA Director.

"These include plans for groundwater monitoring, construction, environmental management, and odour, weed, disease and contingency management," he said.

"The Groundwater Monitoring Plan must include details of the installation of at least three groundwater bores for the detection of any groundwater contamination caused by the operations," Mr Jones said.

"The Odour Management Plan must describe contingency management to be undertaken during non-routine events, such as accidents, equipment malfunctions, or process disruption, to prevent odorous emissions beyond the boundary of the site.

"The Weed and Disease Management Plan is required to prevent the spread of weeds or disease and the establishment of nuisance animals at the facility.

"A Wastewater Treatment System Performance Report must be submitted to the Director within six months of the wastewater treatment plant being commissioned," he said.

"This must describe the environmental performance of wastewater treatment processes and any required improvements to the operations, noting that the quality of the treated water must meet the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines before it can be used on site," said Mr Jones.

The proposal was considered by the Board in the context of the sustainable development objectives of the Resource Management and Planning System of Tasmania (RMPS), and in the context of the objectives of the Environmental Management and Pollution Control System (EMPCS) established by the Environmental Management and Pollution Control Act 1994 (EMPCA).

The functions of the Board are to administer and enforce the provisions of EMPCA, and in particular to use its best endeavours to protect the environment of Tasmania, and to further the RMPS and EMPCS objectives.

The Board undertook the assessment of the proposal in accordance with the Environmental Impact Assessment Principles defined in Section 74 of the Act.

The Board’s environmental assessment, including the environmental conditions that must be included in any permit, have been forwarded to the King Island Council, for review of planning issues prior to making a decision as to whether a permit is to be granted.

The decision by the EPA Board can be viewed on the EPA website at www.epa.tas.gov.au/assessment/completed-assessments.

The Environment Protection Authority acknowledges the Tasmanian Aboriginal people as the traditional custodians of lutruwita (Tasmania) and pays respect to their Elders, past and present.