IT’S hoped a $2.75-million proposal for a wastewater treatment plant at Baiada’s Tamworth rendering plant will end the poultry giant’s string of environmental fines and history of council non-compliance.
The “major upgrade and replacement” of the company’s existing wastewater facility at its Oakburn site, is part of an agreement between Tamworth Regional Council and the chicken producer to make “substantial progress towards waste compliance”.
The company has a chequered past in regards to its wastewater management – the chicken producer has been paying an average of $4000 per week in non-compliance charges since July 2016, according to documents tabled to council last year.
Despite Baiada’s history of non-compliance, council says the project will be treated the same as all other development applications.
“It’s going through the usual stages of a development application – everyone is treated equally,” a council spokesperson said.
It’s anticipated the proposal will also “significantly reduce” the “overall odour impact” on the surrounding environment.
There were concerns the plant’s holding ponds would attract more birds to the area, which would pose a risk to air traffic at the nearby airport.
However, Baiada has offered to install bird netting across the ponds.
A Baiada spokesperson said the company was confident the new system would allow it to meet council’s wastewater requirements.
“The facility has been designed to capture biogas which will then be used to fire the steam boilers at our Oakburn site,” they said.
“This will save approximately 650 gigajoules of natural gas each week, an outcome that represents the highest standards of sustainability.”
The plant’s construction will provide 50 jobs which will be “primarily be sourced from the local community”.
“The project reflects our long-term commitment to the region and our continued investment in Tamworth,” the spokesperson said.
In 2016, the state’s environmental watchdog, NSW Environmental Protection Agency, whacked the poultry producer with a $15,000 fine for discharging waste from its Tamworth abattoir.
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