Fined for a bad smell

By Country News

GrainCorp has been fined more than $8000 after an ‘offensive odour’ drifted into homes near its Numurkah plant recently.

The Victorian Environmental Protection Authority has called on the company to do more when it comes to controlling odour.

‘‘EPA officers conducting an inspection were able to confirm that people living in homes nearby were directly affected by a strong cooking smell with a chemical undertone,’’ EPA’s north-east regional manager Emma Knights said.

‘‘Allowing the offensive odour to leave the premises and affect neighbouring properties is a breach of the conditions of the EPA licence under which the facility operates.

‘‘The cause of the problem is still under investigation, and EPA may require the company to undertake further remedial action to prevent any future problems.’’

GrainCorp has been fined $8060.

A GrainCorp spokesperson said the company was committed to working with the EPA to ensure it was fully compliant with its licence condition.

‘‘GrainCorp has made significant investment in the site infrastructure, including improvements to plant, equipment and processes to eliminate or mitigate the effects of any noise or odour generated by our production activities on both our environment and nearby residents’’ the company said.

‘‘We take these obligations extremely seriously and sincerely apologise for any inconvenience caused.’’

Ms Knights said breaches involving odour could be difficult to investigate.

‘‘Any delay in reporting or a change of wind can leave us with no confirmation,’’ she said.

‘‘A prompt report from residents in the area can help EPA officers to identify the source, the nature and strength of the odour, and the area being affected.’’

The news comes after GrainCorp announced last Monday that a planned takeover by Long-Term Asset Partners (LTAP) will not proceed.

GrainCorp announced the LTAP proposal on December 3 and said it had ‘‘engaged extensively’’ throughout the due diligence process.

The deal was worth an estimated $2.4billion.

■Members of the public can report pollution to EPA’s 24-hour hotline, by phoning 1300 372 842.