After Tlokweng residents complained about odour coming from Notwane 14 KO Farm, South East District Council (SEDC) has finally intervened. The farm is situated on the south western side of Tlokweng village in Sefhoke ward.
As SEDC has issued a facility management with report to comply with the stated recommendations within three months, failure to which may evoke penalties for contraventions of Public Health Act Chapter and Waste Management Act.
According to the report, all breaches relating to the contravention of Waste Management Act particularly with respect to illegal disposal or dumping of waste in own burrow-pit, which is not licensed as a disposal facility and open burning of waste in own burrow-pit which is not licensed as a disposal facility and open burning of waste must be stopped with immediate effect and law arrangement be made the disposal of waste emanating from all operations taking place within the farm. “It was evident that offensive odour and smoke plumes are emanating from the waste water ponds/lagoons, burrow pit due to rotten offal’s and open burning of waste within the farm,” the report says.
The assessment was carried out after a consequent of Council resolution emanating from community outcry particularly from residents adjacent and within close proximity to the farm regarding the discharge of intermittent offensive odour and frequent plume of dark smoke released from the farm, which allegedly is injurious to their health.
The report indicate that the concerns of the residents were emanating from the common effects experienced by majority of people within the neighbourhood of the farm such as the inflammation or itching of the eyes and the respiratory track got them worried that it might pose a health threats to them and their children.
The Department of Environmental Health therefore conducted the inspection on May 9, 2018 in the presence and company of Bigboy Baliki, the general manager of the farm and the delegate made subsequent follow-up visits to the farm.
This facility although legally licensed is the major contributor to the above outlined concerns raised by the community in that, effluent management system in place is not properly engineered to minimise possible atmospheric impact of the associated odour, emanating from the mixture of decomposing minute meat cuts, blood soiled water and offal honey/contents.
The report shows that effluent management system used at the Senn Foods Abattoir is more of lagoons. “No treatment is applied prior to effluent discharge into these lagoons. Consequently these lagoons emit constant offensive smells into the atmosphere,” it states.
The report says the dung removed from these paddocks is stockpiled
It says a windy period may be associated with air pollution mainly from provocation of dried cattle dung, however, the dispersion radius is most likely to allow settlement before reaching the neighbouring dwellings hence insignificant contributors to the concerns.
The inspectors also found out that there were open burrow pits, which were used of offals and condemned carcasses from the abattoir. Other burrow pit were used for disposal of old used tyres which are mostly used to burn offals and general waste.
It says around the abattoir there were waste ponds, which were overspilling. The waste cannot be treated as there is no treatment plant and it had a bad odour and the odour was only detectable within close range during non-windy period. “There was grass used for production of stock feed. Farm manager indicated that that manure is usually spread over grass fortnightly and he acknowledged and believed the process is the one responsible for production of offensive odour.
At the tannery, the inspectors observed that there was no grease trap on the waste water pipe leading to the main sewer. There also was no water receptacle and employees were not provided with suitable and complete personal protective clothing.
At the farmhouses of the tannery, inspectors observed that there were no staff welfare facilities except for a non-functional, overfilled and dilapidated pit latrine leading to occupants using nearby bushes.
“An illegal waste dump was created within the vicinity of the pit latrine indicating lack of waste receptacles and poor waste management practices,” reads the report.
Based on the findings, the management of the farm was advised to dispose offals and condemned carcasses, general waste and used tyres at the sanitary landfill; open burning of waste without permission must cease; permission should be sought from Department of Waste Management and Pollution Control for safe disposal of waste water from the abattoir; licensed waste carriers should be used for collection and transportation of general waste to designated disposal sites; appropriate measures should be taken to control the odour from manure during process of sprinkling of grass; grease trap must be installed at the tannery; waste receptacles must be provided for storage of general waste; and empty the pit latrines and render them closed. Provide water closets at the farmhouses.