Victoria’s Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has fined a regional milk transport company after it was found responsible for leaking milk from its truck depot.
O’Neill’s Bulk Tanker Service Pty Ltd, based in Korumburra in Victoria’s Gippsland Region, was ordered to pay $8,060 after EPA officers investigated reports of a strong odour of milk coming from a nearby creek.
They reported finding grey-brown, rancid-smelling water in the creek which they traced back to the company’s premises. The milk-contaminated water appeared to be discharging through a whole in a wastewater sump at the truck wash bay. The EPA officers also found a number of pools of the grey-brown water extending down to the creek.
Witnesses reported seeing the milky coloured, foul-smelling water in the creek a few weeks earlier, which the EPA believes could have been discharging into the waterway for months.
In addition to the fine, the company was issued with a Pollution Abatement Notice (PAN), requiring it to modify its truck wash overflow system to prevent any further discharges.
EPA’s Regional Manager for the Gippsland Region, Stephen Lansdell, said it was disappointing to see another pollution event involving the dairy supply industry chain, particularly from a trucking company.
“Milk might seem harmless but it quickly goes off, producing odour, contaminating land and affecting aquatic species in waterways,” he said.
“EPA has issued fines in similar cases here in Gippsland, and it is concerning that some people in the community and the dairy industry don’t do enough to stop milk entering stormwater drains or waterways.
“It must be treated on site, diluted for irrigation or directed to the sewerage system, otherwise it becomes an environmental hazard.”
Mr Lansdell said the transport company could have easily avoided the situation.
“EPA produces guidance on the proper storage and handling of liquids, and how you can reduce and control any risks,” he said.
“Gippsland is one of Victoria’s highest producing milk regions and everyone in the supply chain is responsible for protecting the environment from the harmful effects of milk entering the environment.
“If you don’t do the right thing, the consequences can have a negative impact on your business reputation and your bottom line.”
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