Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) is considering a Works Approval application from Water Sustainability Farm Pty Ltd (WSF) for a facility to take and treat trade waste from Australian Plant Proteins in Horsham.

EPA has received 28 submissions from the public and has now arranged for an independently chaired community conference under section 20B of Environment Protection Act 1970 (EP Act) to be held at Quantong Recreation Reserve on Wednesday 26 May from 7pm-830pm.

To attend this event, community members can RSVP here by Monday 24 May 2021. It is noted that due to social distancing requirements the registration limit will be capped at 100 people.

The purpose of the facilitated conference is:

for EPA to gain a better understanding of community concerns and issues that need to be considered; 
to inform the public on the Works Approval application, the assessment process and its current statuses; and
to identify potential resolutions for any issues in the application. 

Following the conference, the independent chair will prepare a conference report summarising the discussions and concerns raised and make recommendations for consideration by EPA and the applicant. The conference report will be published on the Engage Victoria website

Under the EP Act, all views raised in the submissions and any recommendations directed to EPA in the report must be considered in EPA’s decision making on the Works Approval application.  

Further details and the conference agenda will be sent to submitters and published on the Engage Victoria website once they have been finalised. 

The proposal

WSF is proposing to construct solar drying evaporation basins and a sludge drying pad for the processing of food manufacturing by-products. Two waste streams are proposed to be managed and treated by WSF – with on average 57,000 litres per day of brine (saline waste) and up to five cubic metres per day of dewatered sludge to be received at the proposed facility.

WSF proposes to concentrate the brine through solar evaporation in four drying basins. The sludge is proposed to be dried in windrows on a sludge drying pad. The dried sludge is proposed to be used locally for agricultural purposes and the super-saline waste will be disposed of the landfill post-evaporation.

Works Approvals

Works Approvals are issued by EPA under the Environment Protection Act 1970. They are required for industrial and waste management activities that have the potential for significant environmental impact.

A Works Approval permits plant and equipment to be installed, the operation of which will result in one or more of:

the discharge of waste to the environment
an increase in, or alteration to, an existing discharge
a change in the way waste is treated or stored.

Additional information

A copy of the works approval application can be viewed in the ‘Supporting documents’ section at https://engage.vic.gov.au/epa-works-approvals/water-sus

For more information on EPA's works approval process see EPA publication 1523.2.

Reviewed 13 May 2021