Residents in the north-western outskirts of Cootamundra are have reacted anxiously to a notification that fish processing may recommence at the Cootamundra Abattoir.
The abattoir was fined $8,000 in July following more than 50 complaints to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) about offensive fish odours.
The EPA also issued a prevention notice to ensure fish processing did not recommence at the abattoir until an appropriate odour capture and treatment plant had been installed.
Residents have now received letters from the Cootamundra-Gundagai Regional Council informing them that the abattoir has submitted a new development application (DA) to recommence fish processing.
The council has invited residents to submit objections to the DA by Friday October 2, and it is anticipated the matter will be discussed at the council's meeting on the last Tuesday of October.
Residents have not been told whether the abattoir intends to install odour capture equipment, and are anxious that the plant could resume operations as before, with the associated "godawful stench" of fish being processed.
Their understanding is that the new DA will render null and void the "cease and desist" order from the EPA, meaning that the whole process could repeat and they would again have to submit objections to the EPA for any further action to be taken.
The Herald attempted to contact the operators of the abattoir, Australian Meat Group, for comment, but could not find a contact phone number.
One resident understands that the abattoir has a backup plan to store fish in a chilling room should there be any delays, but this would involve the room being contaminated for meat processing, should meat processing resume.
Another resident, who declined to be named, said he would not be opposed to the fish processing if there could be a guarantee that no odours would be produced, adding he thought it unlikely.
Before closure of the fish processing residents said the smell had been particularly bad on Mothers Day, in May.
When family visited they got out of the car to be assailed by a smell so bad they couldn't sit outside and enjoy the outdoor setting.
A resident of Rathnells Lane said she had to take washing off the line and rewash it sometimes because the smell was so bad.
Fish is trucked to the abattoir from the south coast and is processed into fishmeal for the aquaculture industry.
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