Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) has issued a notice on a South Wangaratta company involved in the food industry to take immediate action to reduce odour escaping its property and impacting the local community.

Van Hessen Australia Pty Ltd operates a private wastewater treatment plant in South Wangaratta.  EPA issued a notice on the company on Friday, 2 December requiring them to make changes to their wastewater treatment processes to reduce odours from their site.

“We have received a large number of complaints from the local community which has been badly affected by the odour,” said EPA North East Regional Manager Renee Palmer.

“EPA licensed sites operate under strict regulations that protect human health and the environment. These regulations include the general environmental duty (GED). The GED requires anyone conducting activities that pose risks to human health and the environment to minimise those risks so far as reasonably practicable.

“Odour can cause discomfort and some people may want to remove themselves from the area if possible. Odour does not cause long term health issues and once removed, any ill-effects being felt should quickly reduce.

Ms Palmer said she expected the company to move quickly to implement the requirements of the notice but should these measures not improve the situation then additional regulatory actions will be considered.

EPA will consider what further regulatory action is required. EPA's legislation and Compliance and Enforcement Policy provide for sanctions ranging from fines of up to 2,400 penalty units (about $396,000) through to licence suspension and even cancellation if necessary.

Reviewed 5 December 2022