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: Environment Protection Authority orders New abattoir near Darwin on the nose to fix odour problem

The Northern Territory's Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has ordered Australia's biggest beef producer to take "immediate action" to solve odour problems emanating from its new abattoir near Darwin. Residents living near the Australian Agricultural Company's (AACo) meatworks at Livingstone, have been complaining about bad smells for months. Speaking to ABC News last month, resident Glenn Spears described the smell from the abattoir site as "rank". "We've been experiencing some pretty terrible smells coming from that direction," he said. "Even when it's a really still morning, the smell... it's just a rank smell that's hanging in the air. "This morning it was almost sickening to smell, it was that bad." The odour is being caused by the poor quality of wastewater being used, and perhaps over-used, by AACo for irrigation. The EPA said it had comprehensively discussed AACo's proposed plan for improving the quality of wastewater used for irrigation and after "lengthy consideration and discussion", had issued a direction to AACo under the Waste Management and Pollution Control Act, directing the company to "immediately take measures to prevent offensive odours." EPA chairman Bill Freeland, said the authority had given AACo permission to start processing cattle late last year knowing the smell could become an issue. "We in good faith discussed it with them and they said they needed to start slaughtering cattle so they could test and fine-tune their system," Dr Freeland said. "We actually didn't believe they had a system that could be fine-tuned sufficiently, but over six months we felt they could make some great progress. "Unfortunately that progress really didn't eventuate. "But now, AACo has bitten the bullet and is launching into a big program to fix it all up. "The other thing that's very important, is that there'll be no further increase in the number of head that can be slaughtered per day, they (AACo) volunteered that, and we'll have to keep them to that. "The cap is 250 head [a day], maximum." In a statement, AACo said it had met with the NT Environment Protection Authority a number of times and has presented a plan to mitigate odours and ensure sustainable compliance with the EPL for the Livingstone Beef processing facility south of Darwin. "AACo is complying with the direction from the NTEPA and keeping them informed of progress," it said. Last month, the company's managing director, Jason Strong, told ABC Rural the odour problem would be fixed. "It's something we're very conscience of and working on and its' something that we'll be fixed, there's no question about that, it's going to be fixed," he said. "This is a multi-decade investment for us and we want to be a good part of the community for a long time. "This is not a good experience for the locals, but we will fix it and make sure that we don't have a negative impact on the local environment."

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