A piggery in Tabulam has been fined $15,000.
A piggery in Tabulam has been fined $15,000.

EPA issues $15,000 fine to local piggery

A TABULAM piggery has been slugged with a $15,000 fine from the NSW Environment Protection Authority for allegedly mismanaging piggery waste.

EPA regional director north Adam Gilligan said Clarrich Farms piggery had failed to properly manage piggery effluent and other waste materials at the premises, posing a risk of pollution to the nearby Clarence River and breaching their Environment Protection Licence.

"The EPA carried out an inspection of Clarrich Farms in July 2018 in response to a complaint about offensive odours from the piggery. The inspection identified a large area on the premises that had been smothered by a thick blanket of effluent sludge," Mr Gilligan said.

"Our investigations found that the previous day the licensee had pumped sludge and liquid effluent from a treatment dam onto the ground to manage odours emitted from the piggery.

"Analysis of sludge samples returned highly elevated nutrient and faecal contamination levels. Phosphorus levels were particularly high.

"During the inspection EPA officers found the sludge and effluent flowing towards the Clarence River, ultimately covering approximately 7.25 hectares of ground."

The EPA required Clarrich Farms to immediately clean up the sludge, and implement ongoing measures to contain and reduce the elevated phosphorus levels of the impacted area of land.

The EPA is also liaising with Clarrich Farms on the broader environmental management of the facility including increased environmental monitoring requirements.

The EPA investigates all reports of suspected pollution and encourages anyone with a concern, or knowledge of environmental harm to contact the 24-hour EPA Environment Line on 131 555.

Penalty notices are one of a number of tools the EPA can use to achieve environmental compliance, including formal warnings, official cautions, licence conditions, notices and directions and prosecutions. For more information about the EPA's regulatory tools, see the EPA Compliance Policy at www.epa.nsw.gov.au/legislation/prosguid.htm