Van Hessen odour tested in court

South Wangaratta food processor Van Hessen Australia Pty Ltd has been ordered to contribute $75,000 to a project that will help improve the environment in a South Wangaratta Reserve, as suggested by EPA Victoria, pay $30,000 to the Court Fund and will pay EPA’s court costs of $15,061.

The company, which pled guilty to breaching its licence by allowing the release of odour from its manufacturing facility in Shanley St, is also on an 18 month Adjourned Undertaking and received an adverse publicity order and must advertise in a local newspaper details of the court outcome.

Van Hessen Director Anthony Greaves also appeared in the Court on Tuesday (5 Dec) with the court ordering him to pay $3,000 to the Court Fund, $4,754 in EPA costs and is on a 12 month Adjourned Undertaking.

Local community members alerted EPA Victoria to the pollution issue describing the odour as smelling like sewage, rotten eggs and sulphur.

Van Hessen is an EPA licensed facility and as part of its 2022 licence conditions must ensure odours that are offensive to the senses of human beings are not emitted, discharged or released beyond its boundaries.

“This clearly has not happened consistently enough and the local community has suffered as a consequence,” EPA North East Regional Manager Renee Palmer said.

“The decision is welcome, and the direction by the court that Van Hessen should contribute to the restorative project, is something EPA requested. But, there are still odour issues from the plant that need to be fixed and EPA is directing considerable time and effort to making that happen,” Ms Palmer said.

“The South Wangaratta Reserve restorative project order, which will enhance a public place for public benefit, was recommended by EPA to the court. The environmental improvement project chosen involves a partnership between the Rural City of Wangaratta Council and Park Lane Nursery, operated by a local social enterprise, Merriwa Industries.”

“This project will result in more that 5,000 trees, grasses and shrubs being planted improving the amenity and habitat in the vicinity of the where the pollution occurred.

“Our regulation and enforcement of Van Hessen is continuing and will do so until they can show they are consistently compliant.”

/Public Release. View in full here.