Effluent heading to Queensland test site
WORK on Australia's first roadside effluent disposal facility will begin in the next 12 months after the Australian Livestock and Rural Transporters Association received a $400,000 government grant.
The facility will provide livestock carriers with a safe way to dispose of livestock effluent that is captured during transportation, according to ALRTA CEO Mathew Munro.
Many trucks have effluent capture tanks on their trailers but sometimes these can fill before they can be disposed of at the destination. The facilities are already in operation in New Zealand, a system the ALRTA is hoping they can duplicate, beginning with the initial test site on Queensland's Warrego Highway.
"We went to New Zealand in April last year with a delegation of operators and myself and we had a look at what they do,” Mr Munro said.
"And we believe the New Zealand model can be duplicated here. We are hoping to build a network of facilities operators can use free of charge. Because of the lack of options at the moment there are instances where operators are forced to dispose of effluent in unmanaged situations, which is far from ideal.”
Mr Munro said it had taken some time to provide the facilities because of the lack of funding and the recognition that areas, such as Southeast Queensland, had a rapidly growing livestock industry, with processors and large feedlots as well as a huge growth in population.
It is expected that there will be the equivalent of 20,000 semi-trailer movements a year along the Warrego Highway.
"As the industry has grown, the problem has become more acute and we feel that it is time that action was taken,” Mr Munro said. "It is important from the perspective of road safety but there is a biosecurity factor as well. The management of effluent is just something that has to be done.”
He said the scheme had the support of the entire supply chain, from processors to feedlots and animal welfare advocates.
"There are a whole lot of benefits to doing this. It is just finding the right way to deliver it in the Australian context is the challenge,” Mr Munro said.
The pilot site will show how much effluent can be captured, the costs of its operation, and the options for effluent disposal from the facility.
"It is just finding a partner who in the commercial sense can make it work for them,” Mr Munro said. "There are particular circumstances in each location which dictate the options that are available...so we need to find something that works well in Southeast Queensland.”