Overview

Australian Bio Fert Pty Ltd have applied for a works approval (Application Number 1003800) to build and operate a poultry organic waste processing and nutrient recovery facility at 798 Tall Tree Rd, Lethbridge, VIC 3332.

The proposal would thermally treat up to a maximum of 33, 750 tonnes per annum of poultry waste and produce solid material and liquid condensate. This would then be blended to create solid and liquid fertiliser products.

The application can be viewed in the 'Supporting documents’ section of this page. Please note that where commercially confidential material has been included in the application, placeholder pages are provided.

For more information on the works approval process see EPA works approvals (publication 1523.2).

Latest update

Works Approval granted

On 3 December 2020, Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) granted a Works Approval to Australian Bio Fertiliser P/L to construct a poultry organic waste and nutrient recovery facility at 798 Tall Tree Rd, Lethbridge.

EPA’s assessment included referring the application to Agriculture Victoria to seek its views on biosecurity risks, as well as detailed technical reviews of the proposed technology, odour generation and environmental management.

EPA engaged with the community via an online question and answer session (which can be viewed below on this page), and publicised the application through Engage Victoria, traditional media, and social media. Seven online questions and six submissions were received during the consultation period, with questions and concerned raised around potential biosecurity risks, traffic routes to and from the facility and odour generation.

EPA values the contributions from the community received during our assessment process.

EPA has worked closely with industry to consider this proposal. The technology is this case is new. It follows a successful research, development and demonstration trial project by Australian Bio Fert. The new technology will tackle agricultural waste. It applies lessons learnt from the trial into the application for a larger commercial scale facility.

The proposed facility would be located in a rural area. In addition to a considerable buffer, it also uses best practice design to help prevent off-site impacts. This includes:

  • an enclosed area to receive waste
  • enclosed areas to process waste
  • odour controls
  • wheel washing.

EPA has included routine Works Approval conditions as well as specific conditions that require:

  • an environmental management and monitoring plan that set out all aspects of environmental management and monitoring, monitoring methods, protocols and standards and frequency and any critical thresholds that apply
  • requirements to install scrubbers and appropriately sized biofilters to ensure appropriate treatment of odour emissions and no offsite odours; and
  • a dedicated truck wheel wash which will include the use of disinfectants and detergents to disinfect transport vehicles entering and leaving the site.

Once built, Australian Bio Fert will require an EPA licence before it can commercially operate.

The works approval and assessment summary are available to view in the 'Supporting documents' section of this page.

If you object to the issuing of the works approval or its conditions, you may have the decision reviewed at VCAT by applying in writing within 21 days of the date of issue to:

Registrar, Planning and Environment Division

Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT)

7th Floor, 55 King Street, Melbourne

An application fee may be applicable when lodging an appeal with VCAT.

Contact VCAT on 03 9628 9777 for further details on fees associated with an appeal. A copy of the appeal should also be forwarded, within seven days of lodgement, to:

Manager, Development Assessments Unit

Environment Protection Authority Victoria

GPO Box 4395, Melbourne 3001

What this application proposes

Australian BioFert’s proposal would thermally treat poultry industry waste and create a higher valued resource in the form of a slow release fertiliser. The organic waste to be processed includes broiler farm litter, layer manure and poultry carcasses. The facility would process the wastes in a fully contained shed facility using a torrefaction process to heat treat the waste.

The heat-treated waste produces a solid material and liquid condensate. Mixed with other materials such as coal and mineral fertilisers, this would produce either a dry, stable, granular fertiliser or a liquid fertiliser product. The granular fertiliser product would be sold as a slow release organic fertiliser for broad acre cropping, horticulture and domestic gardening.

Australian BioFert’s torrefaction process was tested at a pilot facility in Bacchus Marsh under a Research, Development and Demonstration Approval over a two year period. EPA subsequently issued an EPA licence to operate that facility. The proposed Lethbridge facility is a much larger commercial scale facility. With a maximum treatment capacity of 33,750 tonnes per annum of poultry waste, in practice the facility would be configured at a lower processing rate of 24,545 tonnes per annum.

Note: “Torrefaction" is a process that converts biomass into a char-like material in a high temperature reactor in a zero or extremely low oxygen environment.

Aust BioFert works approval application

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Richard Hook

Senior Project Manager – Approvals, EPA

Mark Frechville

Applicant - Australian BioFert

Janine Price

Enviro & Regulation Consultant - Scolexia Animal & Avian Health Consultancy

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