EPA Victoria has granted a Works Approval to Australian Bio Fertiliser to construct a poultry organic waste and nutrient recovery facility in Lethbridge – a rural township outside Geelong.
The facility will thermally treat up to 33,750 tonnes of poultry industry waste in a fully contained facility each year, to create a slow release fertiliser.
EPA’s assessment included referring the application to Agriculture Victoria to seek its views on biosecurity risks, as well as detailed technical reviews of the proposed technology, odour generation and environmental management.
EPA engaged with the community via an online question and answer session on the Engage Victoria website, and publicised the application through Engage Victoria and traditional media.
Seven online questions and six submissions were received during the consultation period, with questions and concerned raised around potential biosecurity risks, traffic routes to and from the facility and odour generation.
EPA Director of Development and Infrastructure Tim Faragher said the decision was an example of industry and EPA working together.
“The applicant first approached EPA in 2016 with its novel technological approach to dealing with poultry waste and obtained a Research, Development and Demonstration Approval for a pilot-scale facility in 2017,” he said.
“Following the success of the trial, which included environmental monitoring of the facility, testing of the material and subsequent field trials of the products, EPA issued a licence for the pilot scale facility in December 2019.”
Australian Bio Fert then applied to the EPA to construct a larger commercial scale facility earlier this year.
“Despite having a considerable buffer distance around the proposed facility’s location, its design addresses biosecurity and odour risks through inclusion of a range of mitigation measures including enclosed receival and processing areas, secondary odour controls and wheel washing,” Faragher said.
“All of these features are considered best practice by the EPA.”
Once built, Australian Bio Fert will require an EPA licence before it can commercially operate.