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February 4, 2023

Court case slaps North Coast piggery with $270,000 bill

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A North Coast piggery operator could face a $277,000 bill following a successful prosecution by the NSW Environment Protection Authority over poor irrigation and effluent dam management and for providing false or misleading information.

In addition to a $27,000 fine, Signium Pty Ltd at Ellangowan near Casino was ordered to pay the EPA’s legal costs of $90,000 and to carry out site improvements with an estimated cost of at least $160,000.

It’s not the first time Signiuim has copped an EPA fine – it was charged $15,000 for breaches back in 2015.

EPA’s regional director north, Adam Gilligan, said, ‘Signium’s environmental management was not satisfactory in relation to effluent dam leakages and sludge volumes and irrigation practices causing saturated soils and high soil nutrient balances’.

‘The court also found Signium failed to submit several monthly reports to the EPA as required by its Environment Protection Licence, but falsely stated this had been done,’ Mr Gilligan said.

‘Environment Protection Licences require licensees to carry out its operations in a ‘competent manner’ and in this instance Signium failed to do so.

‘It is important that operators working with livestock in intensive agricultural operations manage effluent properly,’ he said.

There are strict conditions in Environment Protection Licences to safeguard the environment and community; all licensees must follow these.

Among other things, the court ordered Signium to improve the management of its effluent treatment and irrigation systems, and undertake monitoring to safeguard the environment.

‘The EPA will continue to monitor the piggery’s operations and the improvement works required to be undertaken, to ensure these are satisfactory,’ Mr Gilligan said.


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