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Poultry processor needs 40 per cent of Goulburn’s daily water

John Thistleton 11 October 2019 57
Eddie Wehbe

Poultry entrepreneur Eddie Wehbe. Photo: Supplied.

A poultry farmer wants to use 40 per cent of Goulburn’s daily water consumption to process 192,000 chooks a day in an $83 million planning application awaiting NSW Government approval.

The water must be fresh out of the tap. Recycled water is unsuitable. And with 192,000 birds a day to be processed at full capacity and 14 litres of water needed to process each bird, the expected daily water draw from the mains system will be 2.688 megalitres – more than 40 per cent of the entire city’s minimal daily use.

Goulburn faced a dire water security outlook until 2011 when a $50 million, 81-kilometre pipeline was constructed to Bowral to secure supply.

Known as the Highland Source, the pipeline has a capacity of 5 megalitres a day; Goulburn’s water usage averages about 6.5 megalitres a day.

Goulburn’s Mayor Bob Kirk says the council will have to expand its infrastructure to ensure water security is maintained, and the proponent will have to make a contribution to this cost. Discharged water from the processing will also need to be treated, another significant cost.

Region Media has previously reported on Eddie Wehbe, a former Sydney builder who first came to Goulburn as a hobby farmer, and invested $6.5 million in six large climate-controlled sheds for growing broiler chickens at Parkesbourne south of Goulburn.

Last year the NSW Government pledged $7 million to establish a new industrial area on Goulburn’s northern fringe where Mr Wehbe’s company, Woodlands Ridge Poultry, proposed a new abattoir that will process 12,000 poultry birds per hour with 500,000 broilers a week. When fully operational, two shifts a day will process one million broilers a week. As other producers arrive it’s hoped the chicken meat industry – worth $5 billion in Australia annually – will relocate from Sydney’s outer west to Goulburn.

A key part of the Woodlands Ridge project is a high-tech, $50 million cold storage distribution centre which will not only support the poultry processing facility but will also be available to third-party operations. An hour’s drive from the Canberra Airport, and 1 hour 45 minutes to the future Western Sydney Airport, the processing and storage will enable producers to meet existing and future demand for poultry products regionally and internationally.

Operating 24 hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week, the mixed-use development will include poultry processing plant for chickens, turkey, geese and quail from broiler farms for slaughter, processing and packaging; a wastewater treatment plant; a childcare centre for 68 children; water treatment plant and 341 car park spaces.

If approved, the development will be built in two stages, each stage taking six months to complete. The project will create 264 full-time jobs, other associated industries and 201 indirect jobs.

The developer’s consultants say the project will generate $30 million in additional economic activity annually. Independently operated, the childcare services will be offered to the broader community.

A large shed will provide cover from the sun and cooling fans during unforeseen plant stoppages for live birds arriving in crates on trucks.

One hundred and fifty heavy vehicle trips, mostly B-double trucks, are expected to service the plant each day. Processing will generate considerable waste product. Broiler waste will be piped to a by-product facility where the waste will be processed into various products. Waste streams will include feather, carcass and blood processing. The material is generally cooked, dried and collected for fertilisers and animal food.

During consultation with the community, concerns were raised about traffic, odour, noise, flooding, waste and operation hours.

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57 Responses to Poultry processor needs 40 per cent of Goulburn’s daily water
Megan van der Velde 10:00 pm 09 Oct 19

Wow. Tricky decision. Lots of jobs for Goulburn…..Lots of wasted clean water. Can someone come up with a better solution for this?

maxblues 5:07 am 09 Oct 19

Like the footy, for the chooks to get up it will require a bad decision from an official.

Martine Guesdon Martine Guesdon 6:27 pm 08 Oct 19

Stop eating meat!!

David Nelson David Nelson 4:24 pm 08 Oct 19

Well Tamworth have closed down their poultry farms due to lack of water.

Goulburn may have to make the same move 🤔

Let's hope we get some good rain fall's before summer 🌧

Jyoti Dambiec Jyoti Dambiec 3:37 pm 08 Oct 19

Horrific. Disaster for the environment, local water supplies and the animals.

Pandy 1:28 pm 08 Oct 19

One million birds a week? So how many millions are housed? Would create a big stench.

But no. Move your farm to the Snowy and the dam outflow pipe.

Andrew Inman Andrew Inman 10:55 am 08 Oct 19

Saw on ABC Landline that Goulburn has only just consolidated its water supply after nearly running out. This has allowed companies/industries like the Stockade Brewery to plan ahead. Now this monstrosity is going to jeopardise that and the town's water supply?

    Matt Maas Matt Maas 11:32 am 08 Oct 19

    Andrew Inman no, it isn’t. Why is there so much hysteria around this project.

Beth Mansfield Beth Mansfield 10:09 am 08 Oct 19

*cough* I beg your pardon??

Ian McLeod Ian McLeod 9:12 am 08 Oct 19

This is why we need nuclear powered desalination plants pumping water down rivers and freeing up coastal city water reserves.

    Matt Maas Matt Maas 11:47 am 08 Oct 19

    Ian McLeod absolutely. We would have no water issues with desalination plants running. We have two that aren’t being used already, it’s a joke.

    Ian McLeod Ian McLeod 12:22 pm 08 Oct 19

    Matt Maas energy would be big reason why. Desal is very energy intensive. Imagine if we had desal to free up urban supplies or even pump it up to Goulburn. Infrastructure builds also provide worthwhile fiscal stimulus as opposed to just sending random cheques out like Rudd did. It would actually build something useful, like how Australian thought back when we had actual national vision.

    Matt Maas Matt Maas 6:31 pm 08 Oct 19

    Ian McLeod It would be incredible. It should be happening right now but the fear mongering around nuclear energy has prevented us from our only legitimate way to decarbonise the country and provide the energy we need. Industry like this would be a complete no brainer if we built this infrastructure, instead we have just more fear mongering and abuse of statistics.

    Ian McLeod Ian McLeod 7:52 pm 08 Oct 19

    Matt Maas you are a good man. An objective free thinker and visionary. Your country needs more people like you.

Troy Levier Troy Levier 8:16 am 08 Oct 19

Grow food, not animals.

Capital Retro 9:33 pm 07 Oct 19

This would not be happening if the Welcome Reef dam proceeded as it will have to soon with Australia’s migration out of control and no commensurate increase in basic water security.

Margaret Freemantle Margaret Freemantle 9:26 pm 07 Oct 19

No chance!! Wake up Australia!

Liam Beaz Liam Beaz 9:01 pm 07 Oct 19

Cut off the water to the jail instead

LJ Tas LJ Tas 8:42 pm 07 Oct 19

Goulburn to the coast is about 130kms, how about they fund a small desal plant (somewhere between Shoalhaven and Wollongong) and maybe pipeline (or if not, truck/rail), which could connect to the pipeline that already goes to Berry?

The plant would cost about $5million (and there would be annual running costs), and would easily produce enough water for the chicken farm and others in the area, which would also help to drought proof the place.

    Ian McLeod Ian McLeod 9:15 am 08 Oct 19

    LJ Tas exactly. And a rapid build 400MW SMR nuclear plant could power it 24x7 with no emissions.

    Good plan 👍⚛️

Lucy Baker 8:26 pm 07 Oct 19

How many chickens per hectare?

Trent Gibson Trent Gibson 8:21 pm 07 Oct 19

Hope it all works out well for you Eddie 👍

Adam Greenough Adam Greenough 8:02 pm 07 Oct 19

Build water towers like the ones in SimCity

Nunkeri Bungledool Nunkeri Bungledool 7:53 pm 07 Oct 19

Time to recycle our water.

    LJ Tas LJ Tas 8:43 pm 07 Oct 19

    Nunkeri Bungledool the article covered that recycled water isn't suitable for this purpose

Hans Dimpel Hans Dimpel 7:39 pm 07 Oct 19

I'm pretty sure he wont be paying at the same rate as everyone else. He will get discounts so; no.

Sue Skinner Sue Skinner 7:22 pm 07 Oct 19

Another short sighted what cost? To the environment? To the chooks? No way!

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