EPA fines feather plant $15,000 for alleged storage breach

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has issued AJ Bush & Sons (Manufactures) Pty Ltd with a $15,000 penalty notice for alleged inappropriate storage of raw animal product at their Riverstone meat processing facility.

After receiving several reports of offensive odours from local residents on the evening of 1 October 2020 and again the following morning, EPA officers attended the premises and found raw chicken feathers stockpiled on the concrete outside the processing plant, without any cover or containment.


EPA Executive Director Regulatory Operations Steve Beaman said a breakdown in the facility’s processing equipment lead to a storage failure.


“During our inspection on 2 October 2020, AJ Bush & Sons reported that they continued to receive feathers after they became aware of a power outage which disrupted normal production.


“EPA officers identified an incorrectly stored feather stockpile as the main source of the odour impacting nearby neighbours,” Mr Beaman said.


“AJ Bush & Sons did not advise the EPA of the power outage and storage disruption. Under the terms of their licence they cannot store raw animal product outside. The company is now investigating methods to better handle raw material in the event of a breakdown, either by storing it in an enclosed area or moving the material off-site.


“AJ Bush & Sons must ensure that the plant is appropriately upgraded and management practices implemented to stop the generation of offensive odours. Nearby residents deserve better and their quality of life should not be compromised.”


In addition to the $15,000 penalty, the EPA has issued AJ Bush & Sons with two official cautions for similar alleged licence breaches on 25 September 2020 and 17 November 2020.


The EPA is committed to keeping the community informed about this issue. Local residents are encouraged to contact the Environment Line on 131 555 with any reports or concerns about offensive odours that may be coming from the AJ Bush & Sons facility. See details on our community information page: https://bit.ly/3wbrZAl


Penalty notices are one of a number of tools the EPA can use to achieve environmental compliance, including formal warnings, licence conditions, notices and directions, mandatory audits, legally binding pollution reduction programs, enforceable undertakings and prosecutions. For more information about the EPA’s regulatory tools, see the EPA Compliance Policy http://www.epa.nsw.gov.au/legislation/prosguid.htm.