Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) has fined Winnindoo company Gray Wigg Gault Pty Ltd more than $7900 for allowing between 10,000 and 50,000 litres of dairy effluent to leave its site and enter a stormwater drain during July 2017.
EPA Gippsland Manager Stephen Lansdell said EPA officers launched an investigation after a report to EPA’s pollution hotline on 1300 EPA VIC (372 842).
“EPA officers attending the site found a large area of pooling dairy effluent in a paddock, which was flowing into a roadside stormwater drain, which ultimately ends up in the Latrobe River,” Mr Lansdell said.
“The investigation found it is likely that effluent had been discharging for weeks and could easily have been prevented with proper effluent system management. Poor standards of operation and disregard for the environment led to this fine.
“It’s very disappointing this company has deliberately bypassed the site’s effluent treatment system and discharged dairy effluent to surface waters. This large corporate farm has totally disregarded its environmental responsibilities.”
Mr Lansdell said that on top of the fine, EPA had issued the company with a statutory notice that required it to cease discharging dairy effluent to surface waters, which the company has since completed works to comply with this notice.
In 2017/18 EPA will focus on resolving regional issues through strategic compliance and enforcement programs, including working with industry to improve the management of dairy effluent
EPA encourages dairy processors to support their milk suppliers in managing effluent. Agriculture Victoria and dairy regional development programs such as GippsDairy have a range of tools which can assist farmers.
Guidelines on effective effluent management on dairy farms can be found by visiting:
EPA urges members of the public to report pollution to EPA on 1300 372 842 (1300 EPA VIC) or at www.epa.vic.gov.au