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News in Wyndham

Smelly Silence. Mt Cottrell Company Fined by the EPA.

Mt Cottrell farm scaled
  
   

The Environmental Protection Authority has fined an agricultural company more than $9,000 for failing to provide EPA officers with information about odours from its Mt Cottrell farm during their investigations.

The company missed the chance to avoid a fine, says EPA West Metropolitan Regional Manager Steve Lansdell.

On 16 March 2022, EPA began receiving numerous reports from residents in the City of Wyndham area concerning an offensive odour, described as a fertiliser or manure-type smell.

“The next day, officers traced the odour back to a property on Dukelows Rd and were able to confirm that the company had been applying manure to paddocks on the farm,” Mr Lansdell said.

As part of the EPA’s annual inspections, the company, Toohey Ag Contracting Pty Ltd, was asked for details on the type and amount of fertiliser and soil conditioner used, the stockpiles of fertilizer, and any records related to measures taken to prevent odour from being a nuisance to neighbouring properties.

“The company did not respond to EPA’s formal notice and failed to respond to a second notice a few days later. We only heard from the company director when he received the infringement notice – a fine of $9,087 for failing to respond to those notices,” Mr Lansdell said.

“Any business operator or landholder must take an EPA remedial notice seriously. In this case, cooperation in providing information and resolving the odour problem might have made a fine unnecessary,” he said.

“Paying the fine will not end the investigation, and EPA will still expect measures will be taken to prevent the odour problem in the future.”

An operator has the right to have the infringement notice reviewed or heard by a court under the Environment Protection Act 2017 and the Infringements Act 2006.

Members of the public can report pollution by calling EPA’s 24 hour hotline on 1300 372 842 or visit: epa.vic.gov.au/report-pollution/reporting-pollution