No waste of funds

CAPTURING WASTE: The Mount Gambier and District Saleyards officially opened their newly installed effluent pit. Picture: LEON GEORGIOU

By Leon Georgiou

THE Mount Gambier and District Saleyards has made a significant improvement to how waste is handled on-site to improve animal welfare and biosecurity during livestock transport.

The facility unveiled its $110,000 effluent pit on Tuesday, a joint venture between the Grant District Council and the Australian Livestock and Rural Transporters Association (ALRTA).

The new facility allows transporters to empty livestock effluent – accumulated in a trailer’s capture tanks – whilst transporting livestock from farms and saleyards to meat processing facilities.

Grant District Council chief executive Darryl Whicker said despite being an obvious and legitimate need for the pit, it was beyond the council’s budget to shoulder the full cost of the project.

Instead, council funded around 50pc of the project with Member for Barker Tony Pasin advocating to the Federal Government to provide a similar contribution through the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator’s (NHVR) Heavy Vehicle Safety Initiative.

“The livestock transporters… will be able to enter the site, discharge tanks and resume transport in a safe, efficient and productive manner,” Mr Pasin said.

ALRTA president Scott McDonald explained the importance of effluent disposal facilities to both the livestock supply chain and the community.

“They improve safety by ensuring cleaner roads and improved animal welfare outcomes and help to reduce the risk of non compliance with biosecurity, environment and load restraint laws,” he said.

Grant District mayor Richard Sage said the effluent pit also improved the saleyard’s ability to deal with and dispose of waste from trucks.

“The effluent that is captured… is separated so that solids are taken out of the wastewater, which is then put into a settling pond: that once again let’s all the waste settle at the bottom,” he said.

“Freshwater is taken off the top, and is irrigated out amongst the pine trees across the road.

“The solids that are taken out of the effluent are then picked up… and put into potting mixes.”

The opening of the effluent tanks represents one of a number of planned upgrades for the saleyards in the coming years – pending external funding.

Work has also begun on the installation of two adjustable cattle ramps – with both rear and side loading options that will cater for both B Double and A Double truck configurations.

The $950,000 project has been jointly funded by the State Government’s Regional Growth Fund and council.