Plant's water plan rejected

A Hazeldene's truck. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

A Hazeldene's truck. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Hazeldene's irrigation under fire

Lockwood group lobbies government over Hazeldene plans

HAZELDENE'S chicken farm's plans to irrigate waste water on land near its Lockwood plant has been rejected by the Environmental Protection Authority, after heated protests from locals.

Hazeldene's brand manager Michelle Daniel said the outcome was disappointing for the company but it was confident the plan would still go ahead.

"It's disappointing in that it's going to stretch the process out," she said of the EPA's ruling.

"The EPA are working collaboratively with us to make sure there are no issues when we commence irrigation."

She said the EPA had flagged concerns about managing and testing the toxicity of the water and the company would therefore hire a full-time water systems coordinator.

The coordinator would manage the quality of the water and ensure it did not leak onto neighbouring properties, she said.

She said the company was communicating with local residents and trying to gain their trust.

But Lockwood Clean Living member Kenneth Johnson, whose dam is about six metres from the planned irrigation site, said he would not tolerate irrigation less than two kilometres away from his land.

"It's going to drain into my dam and kill my trees," he said. "The letter we have received from the EPA states several things - the water is too toxic, the smell is too bad and it's too close to residents and roads."

He said that even if the water didn't leak onto his property, the chemicals in the water would infiltrate the air and drift into his land.

He said the company had caused "a lot of angst in the community".

"We're going to fight to have this infrastructure removed," he said.

"The battle has been won but the war hasn't."

The Hazeldene's plant has grown in size recently and doesn't have enough land to irrigate all of its waste water, so it reached an agreement with a neighbouring farmer to irrigate the water on their land.

The plant is not connected to a sewage system.

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