Complaints at carcass odour

Concerns about clouds of odour coming from composting chicken carcasses and manure on properties in the Palmerston area have led to numerous complaints.

The Otago Regional Council received more than 15 calls last summer complaining of odour from one property on the Hampden-Palmerston Rd which dealt with composting chicken carcasses.

It had also received a complaint about a second nearby property in recent weeks.

As a result of these complaints, Mainland Poultry had ceased supplying the "end of lay birds" for composting "as of this week", general manager Hamish Sutherland said yesterday.

Due to the issues raised with the company, it had decided it was not a satisfactory process and the birds would now be sent for processing in to poultry meal which was exported, he said.

"We are aware of the complaints and our response to that is to stop the process."

Regional council resource director Selva Selvarajah said staff had visited the site following the first complaints but could not detect the odour as being offensive or objectionable past the boundary of the property.

However, given the issues, staff then advised the farmer to apply for a resource consent, he said.

The property owner had done so, applying to discharge contaminants to air by applying compost to land and to discharge contaminants to land from composting chicken carcasses and manure and other biodegradable matter.

People considered to be affected by the consent were notified in July and submissions closed on August 5.

Five submissions were received, three opposing and two neutral. A hearing date for the consent had yet to be set but it was expected to be in November.

In the meantime, the farmer was not composting the carcasses or spreading the compost on his land, Dr Selvarajah said.

Staff were to visit the second site following the complaint.

Waitaki District Council senior environmental health officer Richard Davies said the primary responsibility for dealing with the problem lay with the regional council but it had assisted with the issue by speaking to Mainland Poultry.

The district council had received a few complaints about the odour problems since the weather had got warmer.



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