After almost two years of enduring what they say are "putrid" odours from the Miners Rest saleyards, residents are hopeful the latest set of EPA orders may bring the relief they are craving.
The new Pollution Abatement Notices, handed down by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA), come after the saleyards were asked to investigate strategies to reduce the "strong manure odour" that was reaching the town's residents.
Through those investigations, AAMIG, the company that runs Central Victorian Livestock Exchange, developed a number of strategies, including the use of "buffer vegetation", which would include 4400 native shrub seedlings as well as 50 mature trees, were underway, with windrows being prepared for planting in April.
While it is unknown whether the planting of the "buffer vegetation" has begun, it appears as though it has a deadline.
As part of the new abatement notice, CVLX must take measures to reduce odour from the premises, specifically the planting of vegetation, by October 14, 2020, and May 21, 2021.
It is unclear which types of vegetation need to be planted by each date.
Committee for Miners Rest member Werner Oellering said the new notices and deadlines were welcome, however he remained skeptical over how much of a difference they will make.
"I'm not sure how much those plants will help, but we'll just have to wait and see," he told The Courier.
Mr Oellering, a resident of Miners Rest for almost 30 years, said while the odour hasn't been as bad over the past few months, he still finds it almost unbearable when it hits his home.
"It hasn't been too bad of late," he said.
"But that's really got nothing to do with the saleyards, it just happens that the wind direction has been kind to us.
However if it's after a sheep sale and the wind is blowing south-west, it is putrid.Committee for Miners Rest member Werner Oellering
The second abatement notice outlined the need for the modification of sheep receival yard gates to enable easier access for cleaning to be completed by August 31.
Data put together by the EPA outlined when the smell is worst for Miners Rest residents.
The analysis of wind data from the BOM Ballarat Aerodrome weather station and all pollution reports alleging odour from the Miners Rest saleyard received by EPA between June 1, 2019 and June 1, 2020 show that the majority of the pollution reports related to times when the winds were between west to south-southwest.
The data showed that 74 per cent of reports came in as the wind blew in that direction, while there was a peak in pollution reports on Tuesdays (sheep sale day) with a tail on Wednesdays and Thursdays. A number of pollution reports also came through on Fridays likely related to cattle sales.
Absent from the new abatement notices was the mention of a "deodorising system" which had previously been mentioned by AAMIG.
In a statement from April, they said "management are confident this system will provide a positive impact once installation is completed."
The system would disperse a deodorant to neutralise odours caused by organic compounds.
The EPA has said almost 80 residents had reported odour with 390 pollution reports in the nine months up to late November last year. It is the third time the company has had an EPA since the new saleyards opened in October 2018.
The Central Victorian Livestock Exchange is the biggest sale yard in Victoria. According to its website, 30 per cent of Victoria's sheep and lamb sales take place through the facility, helping to generate more than $210 million in livestock sales each year.
A move from the previous Latrobe Street location, where saleyards first started operating in 1864, was first mooted in 2002.
The eventual location was identified more than 12 years ago, but the move was met with fierce opposition from local residents.
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