Possible bio-security risk

Gerogery and Table Top residents have formed a community action group to oppose the planned development of a compost facility near Gerogery’s Five Mates Crossing.The proposed development from Transpacific Cleanaway received general conditions of approval from the NSW Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) last week and will now go to an independent panel for final approval in August.The facility will see waste transferred to the Eastern Riverina from a number of areas including Albury and Corowa.

A spokesperson from the Gerogery group Leon Martin, who holds a Degree in Agricultural Science, Companies can embrace volunteerism,said the EPA’s decision was a result of regulations that haven’t kept up with the latest technology in compost facilities and the group is concerned by the material content and the manner in which it will be transported into the facility.Mr Martin said there is potential for plant pathogens such as Myrtle Rust (pictured above) – a fungal disease that has devastated plants Australia-wide – to escape into the air during transportation to the site.

“They’re still allowing a broad spectrum of waste to be received into the facility and this is what really concerns us,” Mr Martin said.“There is the possibility of air-borne and water-borne pathogens entering the environment.“The amount of waste material that they will be bringing in makes composting almost impossible without contaminating the area.“The ingredients still involve animal products which should not be reintroduced into the farming system.”

The facility intends to use a Gore cover system which places rubber mats underneath and above the compost to ensure it does not escape into the environment.Fellow Gerogery group spokesperson and Gerogery resident Jill Coghlan said the proposal’s modelling did not accurately predict odour emissions according to information received from air quality scientist Iain Cowan, an independent consultant from Melbourne.

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