Baiada falling foul - EPA launches investigation into abattoir effluent spill

BAIADA Poultry could again fall foul of the state’s environmental authority after an effluent spill at its Tamworth abattoir.

The company reported the leak to the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) on December 20 last year.

Baiada managing director Simon Camilleri told The Leader the spill had not posed a threat to either residents or the environment. He said effluent had leaked into a stormwater pit below the Taminda processing plant where it was discovered and “immediately” reported.

“The spill was contained and there was no effect on the environment at all,” Mr Camilleri said.

“We had Tamworth Regional Council confirm that our actions had been effective and it was cleaned up satisfactorily.

“There was no contamination whatsoever. We had a registered contractor do the work for us and make sure there was no leakage into any river streams.”

EPA north director Gary Davey said the agency would investigate the circumstances surrounding the spill in the coming weeks.

“The company is required to provide a full report to the EPA by 10 January, 2014, on the incident. The EPA will be conducting a full investigation,” he said.

In 2008, the Land and Environment Court ordered Baiada to pay almost $200,000 in fines and clean-up costs after a spill in Tamworth. The incident saw one million litres of effluent escape from the processing plant and seep into a local waterway, affecting 1.1km of river.

A spokesman for the Namoi River Community Group, which is campaigning to stop Baiada building a 70-shed broiler farm at Manilla, said the incident added credence to its argument.

Bob Wales said a similar spill from the proposed operation into the Namoi River could have a devastating impact on the environment.

“I think Tamworth Regional Council really needs to keep in mind the type of company and the poor corporate citizenship that’s been shown by this company in the past,” Manilla resident Bob Wales said.

“If they want to go through with this project, they need to find somewhere they can do it safely and not put the community of Manilla at risk.”

Mr Camilleri said he did not believe the EPA would take any action against the company once its investigation concluded.

“I doubt it because we’ve dealt with it promptly, we’ve reported the situation as we should, we contained the spill and there was no environmental harm,” he said.

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