THE Environment Protection Authority has approved the next step for the construction of a massive abalone farm near Portland.
The authority has ticked off a works approval for Yumbah Nyamat to construct a new abalone farm at Dutton Way, Bolwarra.
The decision means Yumbah has approval to develop the abalone farm noting it also needs to satisfy conditions of a planning permission issued to the company by Glenelg Shire Council.
It is proposed the farm will produce 1000 tonnes per annum and will include a hatchery, nursery and grow out tanks, pumping seawater to the land-based farm, before discharging treated water to the bay through a series of outlet pipelines.
Resdients have protested against the farm, saying the $73 million abalone project would destroy their tranquil views and threaten sea creatures on the reef.
The Glenelg Shire and EPA received 335 submissions and three petitions during information sessions held in November.
Of those submissions, 237 were opposed and 90 were in support of the farm.
Last week the Glenelg Shire Council approved a planning permit for it.
The EPA advised Yumbah must also comply with a permit under the Marine and Coastal Act Consent issued to the company in February by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning.
The works approval sets out conditions for the construction phase to ensure the plant meets all environmental performance standards on an ongoing basis.
Yumbah will also need to obtain an aquaculture licence from the Victorian Fisheries Authority and an EPA Licence to operate the farm once constructed.
Development assessments director Tim Faragher said its decision followed "many months of consultation and a thorough assessment of the company's application".
"Among other issues, we considered the proposed wastewater treatment system and potential effects of the wastewater discharge, noise, odour, groundwater, the principles of the Environment Protection Act 1970, biosecurity, environmental management and potential risks to human health and the environment through assessment of risks to beneficial uses," Mr Faragher said.
"EPA is satisfied the farm can be built in a way that meets stringent environmental standards and will not cause detrimental environmental impacts on the health of the local community."
If members of the community object to the issuing of the works approval or its conditions, they can have the decision reviewed by applying in writing within 21 days of the date of issue Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT).
Works approvals are required under the Environment Protection Act 1970 for industrial and waste management activities that have the potential for significant environmental impact.
Have you signed up to The Standard's daily newsletter and breaking news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in the south-west.