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EPA considers proposal to increase production at George Town Seafoods

The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has concluded its assessment of a proposal by George Town Seafoods Pty Ltd to increase production at its fish processing facility in Franklin Street, George Town in the George Town Council municipality.

George Town Seafoods currently operates a seafood processing and exporting facility located in George Town, processing raw finfish, scallops, oysters, crayfish and Atlantic salmon. The company is seeking a permit to increase the allowable processing capacity from its current 5,000 to 10,000 tonnes per year.

The EPA Director, Wes Ford made the determination under delegation from the EPA Board. He concluded the proposed increase in production 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 George Town Council.

No representations were received in relation to the permit application, which was referred to the Board in May 2015. Public consultation was open for a 28 day period commencing 12 December 2015.

"Various environmental issues were considered in my assessment, particularly the management of liquid effluent generated from the processing of fish, including odour emissions created during the delivery, cleaning and processing of fish as well as from fish waste," said Mr Ford.

"Noise emissions from equipment and the delivery and dispatch of goods were also considered," he said.

"Conditions imposed require the liquid effluent to be managed through disposal to sewer under a Trade Waste Agreement with TasWater, and in accordance with the Biosecurity Management Plan which requires appropriate treatment and disinfection of any wastewater prior to disposal.

"Measures outlined in the Biosecurity Management Plan will also assist in reducing odour emissions from the site. Fish wastes will be collected regularly and transported to Triabunna for further processing," he said.

"Noise emissions will be managed through standard noise conditions restricting the hours of operation and setting noise emissions limits for particular times of the day to ensure that surrounding sensitive users are protected during early morning operations.

"The proponent will also be required to maintain a ‘complaints register’ which must include any odour and noise complaints received by the proponent," said Mr Ford.

The proposal was considered by the Director 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.

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

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

The Director’s environmental assessment, including the environmental conditions that must be included in any permit, have been forwarded to Northern Midlands 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 Director can be viewed on the EPA website at www.epa.tas.gov.au/assessment/completed-assessments