$700,000 fine for former pork producer

Media release
A company which formerly operated a piggery near Kojonup in the Great Southern has been fined a total of $700,000 for emitting unreasonable odours and failing to comply with an Environmental Protection Notice.
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GD Pork Pty Ltd and GD Pork Holdings Pty Ltd operated the GD Pork Piggery in Kojonup between 2015 and 2019. During 2017 and 2019, the piggery emitted unreasonable odours impacting the community. The odours were caused by a combination of untreated pig waste in external uncovered tanks, ponds, and an open pit in which pig carcasses were deposited.

The odour could be smelled from up to 10 kilometres away and was of such an intensity that residents had to shut doors and windows in an attempt to keep the smell out of their homes. The odour permeated laundry on washing lines and residents reported negative impacts to their health.

The Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER) issued an Environmental Protection Notice (EPN) to the piggery operators on 19 March 2018, but it became evident later that the EPN was not being complied with.

GD Pork Pty Ltd and its Director Torben Soerensen were charged with 26 counts of Unreasonable Emission (Odour) with criminal negligence. GD Pork Pty Ltd, GD Pork Holdings Pty Ltd and Mr Soerensen were also charged with three counts of breaching an EPN with criminal negligence.

Prosecutions commenced in October 2021, and in the Katanning Magistrates Court on 5 December 2022, GD Pork received a fine of $400,000 for the unreasonable emission offences. GD Pork Pty Ltd and GD Pork Holdings Pty Ltd also each received a fine of $150,000 for the EPN offences.

The charges against Mr Soerensen are still before the court.

DWER Executive Director for Compliance and Enforcement, Kelly Faulkner, said the fine imposed on GD Pork should serve as a deterrent.

“This company should have complied with the requirements of the Environmental Protection Notice,” she said.

“In this case, local residents were impacted severely by the operations at the piggery, which did not have the necessary waste infrastructure in place to properly protect the environment or the local community.”

Note: On 2 November 2018, DWER was advised that GD Pork had been placed into administration, and the works approval was transferred to new occupier Westpork on 17 May 2019. Westpork has made improvements to the site and DWER will continue to inspect the premises to assess compliance with the licence and monitor emissions.