Hazeldene's irrigation under fire

A GROUP of Lockwood residents are calling for several irrigation pipes at Hazeldene's to be removed after waste water was dumped near neighbouring properties.

Group concerned about future

Hazeldene's has been working with a local farmer to set-up two irrigators on his property, to use treated class C waste water or better from the chicken farm. 

It will help cater for Hazeldene's growing production needs but is yet to be approved by the Environmental Protection Authority. Bordering residents fear the waste water will affect their quality of life by getting in the waterways and nearby dams.

On Tuesday, Hazeldene's flushed out pipes on two of the irrigation sites, causing the waste water to spill in the area. 

Lockwood Clean Living steering committee member Sarah Poyser said the group "could not believe the disregard for the community".

"We want the pipes removed immediately."

Corporate affairs manager Vicki Gaudion said it was an unfortunate issue and would be discussed at a community meeting on April 16. 

"This meeting is independent of the incident but we will field all concerns. We are not going to do anything intentionally without EPA approval."

We want the pipes removed immediately. - Sarah Poyser

She said a contracted plumber was clearing pipes and the dirty irrigation water had accidentally been released in the process. 

An EPA spokesman said the authority was investigating Tuesday's incident for any breach of the Environmental Protection Act. "EPA officers attended farming premises along Boyles Lane and collected samples of liquids from the base of irrigation infrastructure," she said. 

"The samples have been sent off for analysis." 

Ms Poyser said the group was also deeply frustrated with EPA's management of the issue.  

"We are disappointed by the lack of assistance and care for our concerns and are upset about how we've been treated," Ms Poyser said. 

"We have been contacting the EPA since March 3 and have since not received any written reply. We have contacted the Ombudsman to try and get answers from the chief executive.

"We know waste water can cause pollution and should be managed stringently but we just don't feel like this is happening."

EPA referred the matter to the Ombudsman. 

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