Paradise lost: waste processing facility creating fears at Spring Terrace

WATER THREAT: Spring Terrace residents Des Redmond and Duncan Brakell at Mr Redmond's water bore, which they believe could be under threat from Polpure's application to expand. Photo: STEVE GOSCH 0705sgdes1

WATER THREAT: Spring Terrace residents Des Redmond and Duncan Brakell at Mr Redmond's water bore, which they believe could be under threat from Polpure's application to expand. Photo: STEVE GOSCH 0705sgdes1

SPRING Terrace’s pristine agricultural landscape could be under threat from an expanding waste processing facility, according to neighbouring residents.

Polpure was first approved to operate at its Forest Road location in 2009, treating grease trap waste and storing oil-water separator waste.

The company recently lodged a development application with Orange City Council to also include septic tank waste, drill mud from mining exploration and agricultural liquid waste.

It has anticipated it would process a maximum of 1000 tonnes a year and compost a maximum of 5000 tonnes.

Duncan Brakell, whose property adjoins the facility, said the 2011 local environmental plan had the property zoned as RU1 primary production, which did not allow for waste facilities and expansion should not be allowed under state legislation.

He argued the development would be out of place among the cattle farms, cherry and apple orchards and Spring Terrace Public School, with an unacceptable impact on noise, smell, and traffic.

“It just doesn’t belong there,” he said.

“Why is a sewage waste treatment plant in the middle of Spring Terrace when the region has appropriately-zoned industrial areas for this sort of thing?”

Beef farmer Des Redmond was concerned about future water quality - a creek runs through his property to the Spring Creek Reservoir and he relies on bore water for his cows and himself. 

“Most farmers have bores - 99 per cent of them use it for drinking water,” he said.

“If [the waste] happened to spill over, who knows what it would do to the water supply?

“Things do happen.”

“It’s natural spring water, it’s immaculate and if it’s contaminated, it could affect everybody,” Mr Brakell said.

A meeting was held at Spring Terrace Public School on Wednesday night and about 30 residents attended.

According to the Environmental Protection Authority’s (EPA) website, Polpure has not been in breach of its licence so far.

A Polpure spokeswoman said the company had engaged professional consultants to lodge the DA.

“A processing facility is proposed in which organic waste will be converted into a valuable product,” she said. 

“We are currently waiting a response from Orange City Council as to their requirements.”

Orange City Council spokesman Allan Reeder said with the close of public submissions on Thursday, council staff would prepare a report to be sent to the EPA. 

The authority will then propose licensing conditions for  council to consider in July.

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