An agronomist who tested soils on the land proposed for an intensive piggery near Harden says he holds major concerns over damage to the environment if the application is approved.
Paul Parker, an agronomist in the Young-Harden area for 36 years, said he was worried that the slope of the land would hold dangers of effluent pollution of the Cunningham Creek and lower river catchment systems.
He said the area along Cunningham Creek had a propensity for salinity and that the proposed broadcast of treated pig effluent over parts of the property Eulie could increase salinity on the property and in the river.
Blantyre Farms, run by Michael and Edwina Beveridge, has submitted a third application for the project to Hilltops Council. The application is now open for public submissions. The EPA has vetted the new material from Blantyre and will respond by December 16.
The plan involves 25,000 pigs in two development areas on Eulie, about 6km from Harden.
Mr Parker said he was also concerned at where Blantyre would get the water from to wash out piggery floors on Eulie, and where that water would end up.
“I have done tests at Eulie and the soils there are granite-based soils and free-draining. I did water testing along there about 10 years ago and the water was quite saline. The proponents say they will retain the effluent there and then will broadcast it over the soils. I am concerned what will happen with this on the sloping land and how this could affect the Golden Fields water system.’’
Mr Parker said he was concerned local MP Katrina Hodgkinson appeared to be applying pressure on her state colleague, the Minister for the Environment Mark Speakman, to get the piggery project approved.
“Yes, there are jobs involved, but the potential damage to the environment needs to be taken into account despite the claims of the proponents.’’ He said often consultants wrote reports favourable to applications, and the Blantyre Farms’ reports had to viewed closely.