In May 2019, Westpork Pty Ltd (Westpork) acquired Licence L9142/2018/1 for the intensive piggery previously operated by GD Pork Pty Ltd at Lot 502 Sutters Lane in West Pinjarra, about 80 km south of Perth.
On 25 July 2019, the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER) issued an Environmental Protection Notice (EPN) to Westpork to restrict animal numbers on the premises to 3,121 standard pig units* by 15 June 2020. This was considered appropriate and necessary to reduce odour emissions from piggery operations if the proposed strategies to reduce odours and improve waste management, described below, are not carried out in a reasonable timeframe.
On 12 August 2019, DWER hosted a community consultation meeting at Lesser Hall, Pinjarra. Representatives of DWER and Westpork provided an overview of the current and future management of the premises and responded to questions.
On 24 September 2019, DWER amended LicenceL9142/2018/1 to extend its duration to align with the destocking date specified on the EPN. It was again amended in June 2021 to further extend its duration to June 2022, to allow sufficient time for DWER to assess a licence amendment application, described below, submitted in April 2021.
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Westpork has proposed a strategy to address the issues associated with odour and waste management at the premises.
This included desludging of the existing anaerobic pond, and the installation of additional wastewater treatment infrastructure.
The desludging of the existing anaerobic pond is expected to reduce odour emissions by bringing solid waste effluent (sludge) below the water line in the pond. Westpork completed the desludging campaign in December 2019 and the sludge was removed from the premises in October 2021, once it had sufficiently dried.
On 20 December 2019, DWER approved works approval W6292/2019/1, which authorises the installation of additional wastewater treatment infrastructure including a covered anaerobic digestor, settlement trenches and a biogas treatment system. This new infrastructure is expected to result in improvements to wastewater treatment and odour management at the premises.
In April 2021, Westpork submitted an application to amend L9142, requesting authorisation for ongoing operation of the new infrastructure following its construction in early 2021. The application was advertised on DWER’s website seeking public comment in December 2021 and stakeholders that had previously registered a direct interest in the premises were also notified. DWER is currently assessing this application and a decision is yet to be made.
DWER will continue to investigate any complaints made against Westpork and will also continue to carry out regular inspections of the premises to assess compliance with the EPN and to monitor emissions.
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Members of the community are reminded that it is important to report odour impacts at the time that they occur by calling the Pollution Watch Hotline on 1300 784 782. The online reporting tool can be used to lodge complaints after the impact has occurred.
If you have any further questions relating to this issue, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
*A standard pig unit (SPU) defines piggery capacity by manure production. The manure and waste feed produced by one SPU contains the equivalent amount of volatile solids (VS) to that typically produced by an average size grower pig. This is equivalent to 90 kg of VS per year.