TasWater wears Tassal’s Macquarie Harbour waste

Tasmania’s peak environment group has welcomed Tassal’s retreat from plans to dump their waste back into Macquarie Harbour, but is calling on TasWater to urgently disclose the terms of their waste deal with Australia's largest fisheries company, including the contents of waste to be discharged through the public sewage system.

“Congratulations to West Coast locals for standing up and demanding that Tassal’s waste isn’t dumped back into their harbour,” says Laura Kelly, Environment Tasmania. “TasWater now needs to tell communities in the North West exactly what they have agreed to dump in their backyard.”

“There are currently no limits on antibiotic content for waste dumped through the TasWater system, which is concerning given Tassal’s seventy-five per cent increase in antibiotic use in the last financial year. There are also biosecurity concerns, with no information available on possible viruses in the waste,” Ms Kelly says.

“The scant details Tassal has released show that the content of their waste breaches state government pollution limits for ammonia, nitrogen and biological oxygen demand, and TasWater have failed to explain why they have gone back on their earlier concerns about the waste’s high salinity content.”

“The EPA has also been silent on the issue of antibiotics and viruses, failing to address concerns that this is novel waste that should not be covered by existing waste discharge permits.”

“Tassal should never have produced this waste before having an approved waste disposal option, and it is irresponsible of government to box tick dumping without proper considerations of issues like antibiotic and virus content and with zero transparency or community consultation,” Ms Kelly says.