Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) has fined a potato growing and process facility in Gembrook more than $7,700 for illegally dumping industrial waste at a Cockatoo property.
EPA Southern Metro Manager Marleen Mathias said the food waste had come from Mountain Harvest Foods Pty Ltd and was found as part of an EPA investigation that was launched following community pollution reports.
“Once onsite, EPA officers found rotting and odourous waste that included potato cakes, sweet potato and other vegetables. The company confirmed the waste had been deposited on the land because it was not collected by its waste management contractor,” Ms Mathias said.
“The company has then taken it into its own hands to take the waste, which contained liquid oils, and illegally dumped it at the Cockatoo property where it was to be fed to cattle.
“The waste was not suitable to be deposited at the farm and once it was deposited it became disposal of an industrial waste at a site not licensed to accept waste of that kind. Waste of this nature must be taken to a facility that is licensed or permitted to receive it, which in this case clearly hasn’t happened.”
Ms Mathias said the company had now educated its staff about waste that was allowed to be taken for feeding to cattle and how it should be transported.
“Mountain Harvest has also engaged an environmental consultant to audit its environmental management plan focusing on waste management procedures in an attempt to prevent any potential future non-compliance with the Environment Protection Act 1970,” Ms Mathias said.
“If the company were to breach the requirements of the Act again, it could be fined up to $777,300 if prosecuted before the courts.”
EPA urges members of the public to continue reporting suspected pollution to the EPA on 1300 372 842 (1300 EPA VIC) or at www.epa.vic.gov.au