DES fines Ipswich company after odour complaints

Issued: 19 Mar 2021

The Department of Environment and Science has fined Wood Mulching Industries (WMI) $13,345 for odour issues affecting residents in Redbank Plains.

The Swanbank based company was issued with the penalty infringement notice (PIN) after an investigation was carried out for breaching a condition of their Environmental Authority.

The department was acting on reports from the members of the community about odour issues in the area.

On 8 December 2020 and 12 February 2021, officers from the Odour Abatement Taskforce (OAT) confirmed both the presence of offensive odour at the same residence and WMI as the sole source of the odour at those times.

Under environmental legislation, WMI has the option to contest the PIN.

OAT is a dedicated team of specialist officers working to investigate and respond to community concerns about odours, dust and other environmental nuisance around the Swanbank Industrial Area.

Since 2018, OAT has received 9572 reports about odours and dust nuisance in the Swanbank area.

The department through OAT has taken a range of enforcement actions to help improve odour issues within the Swanbank area. These include:

  • Twelve PINs issued since the commencement of the taskforce, totalling $132,724
  • Twenty-three formal warnings have been issued.
  • Two Environmental Evaluations have been undertaken.
  • One Environmental Protection Order issued requiring one operator to manage stockpiles in a manner to reduce fires.
  • One Transitional Environmental Program that requires the operator to invest in advanced odour management infrastructure to achieve compliance with its environmental authority.
  • Prosecution commenced of one operator in the Ipswich Magistrates Court in relation to odour.
  • Commenced a process to tighten EA conditions for two composting operators in relation to processing odorous materials.

Fines and enforcement measures are not the only actions that can be taken. The OAT also provides education to industry about what they can do to reduce odours.

This includes turning composting piles at appropriate times, not leaving incoming liquid-waste uncovered for a long period of time, ensuring that the company doesn’t accept more waste than they can handle (stockpiling), and not accepting highly odorous wastes.

To report a Swanbank odour issue, members of the public can call the Pollution Hotline on 1300 130 372 or fill in and submit an online environmental incident report through the department’s website

Read further information about OAT, including enforcement options.