Residents of Winchester and surrounding areas have complained in the past about the stench of the organic matter from the Lactalis plant that has traditionally been held in on-site lagoons, or spread on nearby fields. Hopefully the stench is a thing of the past, as Lactalis has recently completed a project to modernize their wastewater treatment process. The effort to address the issue began in 2017, and now the new wastewater treatment system is up and running. This five-phase, state-of-the-art wastewater treatment system, is also designed to reduce odours and reduce power consumption.
Starting in mid to late April, old organic material currently stored in the on-site lagoons must be removed. In order to facilitate removal, the lagoons will be stirred, then the organic material will be piped to a field north of Winchester. This process is expected to create odors, as it has in the past. The removal will take approximately ten days, and will be carried out sometime between now and the end of May. Going forward, organic matter will only be stored in lagoons as backup in the event of a power outage, or during maintenance. Lactalis has a Winchester community email address for residents: [email protected]
In 2019, Lactalis (Parmalat) was charged with five violations against the Environmental Protection Act after the stench got to be too much. The Ministry of the Environment explained the charges briefly as “discharging odours into the natural environment that are likely to cause an adverse effect, and failing to comply with conditions of a Ministry approval for the on-site sewage treatment plant.” According to Sarah Sutton, Manager of Corporate Communications at Lactalis, the case is still before the courts, so they cannot comment on it.