The expansion of a Huntly piggery will be voted on by councillors on Wednesday evening.
The applicant, Rivalea Australia piggery, has amended an original application from November 2016, reducing the expansion plans from five farrowing sheds to three.
A report prepared for councillors recommends approving the application, which proposes to change the nature of the operations on site from a ‘birth to bacon’ site to a rearing-only facility.
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“The implications of this is that there will be more breeder sows and young pigs (suckers) but significantly less weaners, growers and no ‘finishers’, i.e. less large animals on the site,” the report states.
Animal waste and odour management were concerns raised by objectors to the proposal.
The report suggests the proposal, in its current form, will be less detrimental to the health of the environment and presents a better outcome for the owners and occupiers of surrounding land due to conditions imposed by the relevant referral authorities.
How will waste and odour be managed?
According to the report, prepared by a council-employed statutory planner, the site has dams for liquid waste which allow solids to settle and water to be ‘filtered’ through a series of dams and settling ponds before being either reused for onsite processing or used for irrigating both the piggery site and other nearby land owners' sites.
Solid waste is removed from the shedding using machinery and stockpiled on site to be used as fertilizer while deceased animals are taken to the facility's on site compositing area.
Objectors were concerned with to how the company manages all forms of waste on site and questioned whether it is appropriate for the operation to water its paddocks with semi-treated effluent water and spread manure in close proximity to a number of water courses, the report states.
These concerns, while “legitimate and significant” were addressed by conditions imposed by water management authority, Goulburn Murray Water (GMW), the report states.
The Environmental Management Plan for the piggery must also comply with with a number of Environment Protection Authority standards for waste and odour.
For example the EPA stipulated that offensive odours and dust must not be discharged beyond the property boundaries.