Livestock processing company Ridley ordered to pay $105,000 for environmental breaches

The NSW Land and Environment Court has convicted livestock processing company Ridley AgriProducts Pty Ltd and penalised it $105,000 for two breaches of its environment protection licence, following a successful prosecution by the NSW Environment Protection Authority. Ridley is a subsidiary of Ridley Corporation Ltd, an ASX listed company.

Ridley pleaded guilty to two charges of failing to operate a pump managing wastewater discharge in a proper and efficient manner, which caused potentially damaging overflows into Marramarra National Park.

The environment protection licence applies to Ridley’s north west Sydney Maroota premises. Ridley processes approximately seven tonnes of animal waste from fish and poultry each day into oil and protein meal. This activity generates wastewater which is cycled between several dams on the premises.

In two separate incidents in June 2017 and October 2017, due to Ridley’s failure to operate the pump properly, wastewater containing ammonia overflowed from the dams into Dalgetys Creek which flows through the Ridley premises into Marramarra National Park, in Sydney’s north west. 

Testing of the wastewater that overflowed into the National Park showed it contained ammonia concentrations known to cause toxicity to aquatic life.

The Court ordered the company to pay the penalty amount of $105,000 to the Environmental Trust. Ridley was also ordered to pay the EPA’s legal and investigation costs of $84,770 and publicise the judgment in the Sydney Morning Herald, Australian Financial Review and Rouse Hill Times.

Ridley has taken a number of actions to prevent similar breaches in future, including installing new pumps and monitoring equipment.

For more information about the EPA’s regulatory tools, see the EPA Compliance Policy at www.epa.nsw.gov.au/legislation/prosguid.htm