Livestock effluent overflows

Who owns the lonely industry by-product?


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Transporters frustrated by lack of disposal pits available.

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Lonely by-product: Livestock transporter George Johnston, Toowoomba, relocated his business in order to manage effluent from his B-double tanks. Picture: Helen Walker

Lonely by-product: Livestock transporter George Johnston, Toowoomba, relocated his business in order to manage effluent from his B-double tanks. Picture: Helen Walker

Livestock effluent is fast becoming a hot topic in south east Queensland with livestock transporters frustrated by the lack of disposal pits available to them. 

Deputy mayor of the Somerset Regional Council, Dan Hall, said it was a problem in main street of Kilcoy with B-doubles traveling through the town often spilling effluent onto the road due to overflowing tanks. 

He said that while the owners of the local meat processors, Kilcoy Pastoral Company, on the eastern outskirts of town, had addressed the problem so drivers can empty their tanks on arrival, more sites were needed along the highway.  

A spokesperson for Transport and Main Roads said that effective management of animal effluent during transport was a complex matter.

“We are working closely with industry and the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator on a holistic approach to better manage effluent spills from heavy vehicles transporting livestock,” the spokesperson said.

“There is certainly a need for more dump sites.

“However, industry is responsible for developing and managing dump facilities to manage effluent storage on livestock vehicles.”

The TMR spokesperson said livestock operators need to plan appropriately for their journey, including stops at existing dump facilities on their route and this is not the responsibility of Transport and Main Roads.

“However, we provide opportunities within our road planning to facilitate these sites in partnership with industry,” he said.

“We are currently undertaking planning for a potential dump site in the southeast corner.

“However, ultimately industry will need to manage and maintain this site, and we are engaged in ongoing discussions with industry representatives.”

Livestock transport operator George Johnston, Toowoomba, said he has 100 litre effluent tanks fitted to each side of his B-double trailers.

“That gives us a combined 400 litre capacity and they fill in under a six hour period,” Mr Johnston said. 

He added that he had relocated his business in order to manage the effluent problem.

“An animal will lose between three to five percent of their body weight in the first three hours of a journey,” he said. 

“We are doing what we can to manage the problem, but at the end of the day it is not our effluent.”  

The current regulatory framework allows transport inspectors to undertake enforcement action if excessive waste is spilling from vehicles. Under the Heavy Vehicle National Law Act 2012, the loss of effluent is a load restraint breach and may incur a fine of $540.

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