Notice to Industry 10: Cleaning contractors - biosecurity requirements

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Purpose

The purpose of this document is to inform cleaning contractors involved with the booking, cleaning and disinfection of the corral and horse stalls, used for the import of live horses, of the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources biosecurity requirements and their obligation to comply with these requirements. This document does not apply to horse imports from New Zealand or New Caledonia.

This document is provided for information only. To the extent that this document is inconsistent with any import permit, direction, industry notice or authorisation to enter a quarantine isolation facility, the terms and conditions of the import permit, direction, industry notice or authorisation to enter a quarantine isolation facility take precedence and will apply. Failure to comply with a condition of an import permit, direction, industry notice or authorisation to enter a quarantine isolation facility may constitute an offence.

Biosecurity risks associated with the aircraft, corral and horse stalls

The import of live horses and equipment used to transport live horses is regulated by the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources. The aircraft, corral and horse stalls used for the import of horses pose significant biosecurity risks as they can be contaminated with horse matter such as hair, faeces, blood and mucus. The corral and horse stalls can also contain a range of other contaminants such as plant and soil materials which are a risk for the transmission of exotic diseases or viable weed seeds.

The corral, horse stalls and people in contact with these have the potential to transmit exotic disease such as equine influenza (EI). This disease can be transmitted via an infected horse directly, or via people or equipment in contact with an infected horse. The EI virus can be inactivated in a variety of ways, including by using soaps, detergents, surfactant disinfectants, acids and oxidising agents (such as Virkon). Appropriate disinfectants for use in the corral and horse stalls are oxidising agents such as Virkon, surfactant disinfectants or detergents. Removal and correct disposal of all biosecurity risk material (BRM) and the use of disinfectants are required to ensure the effective management of biosecurity risks.

Currently, bookings for use of the corral are taken via the cleaning contractors, since cleaning contractors must be engaged for horse movements through the corrals. If the corral is an Approved Arrangement (AA) site, bookings for use will be taken via the  Biosecurity Industry Participant (BIP) operating that AA site. . Close contact between horses of different health status (e.g. Non-NZ imported horses vs. Australian horses) or consecutive use of the corral without appropriate cleaning and disinfection could allow disease transmission to occur.

Biosecurity requirements for booking and use of the corral

Cleaning contractors must keep a record of all horse movement bookings (domestic and international) through the corral where they operate, take bookings and provide a cleaning and disinfection service. This record must include:

  • Country/place of origin:
  • Destination country/place:
  • Number of horses/ stalls:
  • Import/transport company contacts:
  • Estimated date and times of movement through the corral:
  • Flight number & ETA/ ETD:

Cleaning contractors must provide this record to the horse coordinator in the State in which they operate. Any changes or updates to this record must be reported within 24 hours of receiving advice of the change or sooner if the change is to occur in less than 24 hours from when it was made.

AA sites operating a corral have separate requirements under  approved arrangement with the department. As such they are required to keep records of all horse movements as outlined above, and provide these records to the department upon request.

Biosecurity requirements for cleaning and disinfection of the aircraft

The aircraft must be inspected by a biosecurity officer after all consignments of horses imported from non-New Zealand countries.

If the aircraft is contaminated with BRM the cleaning contractor, or the BIP , must clean the relevant areas under biosecurity officer supervision. All waste must be collected in biosecurity waste bags. If cleaning of the aircraft is completed by a contractor without access to approved biosecurity waste disposal, a biosecurity officer will take charge of the waste. If cleaning is completed by AA site personnel, the waste must either be taken to the AA site for disposal, or dealt with as directed by a biosecurity officer.

If directed by the biosecurity officer, the cleaning contractor or BIP must disinfect areas of the aircraft, stairs and surrounding areas and cargo with water glass solution.

The cleaning contractor or BIP must provide sturdy equipment in good working order that is easily cleaned and decontaminated. Equipment must be suitable for the task and replaced if:

  • broken,
  • unable to be cleaned and disinfected, or
  • not sturdy or powerful enough to complete the cleaning in a biosecurity approved and timely manner.

For example, if a vacuum is used it must be strong enough for the task.

All equipment must be cleaned and disinfected at the end of the process. Determination of suitability of cleaning equipment is at the discretion of the biosecurity officer.

In the event that the equipment used for cleaning the aircraft must be moved to an AA site for disinfection, it must first be placed into appropriate receptacles, such as tubs or bags, which will completely contain the equipment until the time of disinfection. If the receptacles are to be retained for reuse, they will also require disinfection. A biosecurity officer may also direct disinfection of vehicles used to transport the equipment in circumstances such as spills.

The cleaning contractor or BIP must comply with personal decontamination requirements as directed by the biosecurity officer. This would normally be Category B decontamination when leaving the aircraft to move to the corral for Category A decontamination.

Biosecurity requirements for cleaning and disinfection of the corral

The corral must be cleaned after all consignments of imported live horses (excluding imports from New Zealand and New Caledonia). The only exception to this requirement is if there are two consignments of horses arriving in close succession and which are part of the same post arrival quarantine (PAQ) isolation intake at the same facility. In this case there would be a constant department presence in the corral or the corral would be secured/locked in between these consignments. In addition, the time between consignments would usually be for less than an hour or the time it would take to clean the corral.

Cleaning and disinfection of the corral must be done by the contractor under the supervision of a biosecurity officer, or by the BIP.

Cleaning

When cleaning the corral, contractors must:

  • Remove all gross contamination/BRM and place in biosecurity waste bags for treatment/destruction.
  • Hose the corral area to ensure it is clean. There must be sufficient pressure in the cleaning hose to completely remove any contamination during cleaning.
  • Ensure that any water borne solid waste does not leave the corral. For example, all solid waste must be disposed of before wet cleaning commences, or sieves may be used.
  • Ensure that if any water that runs into the car park adjacent to the corral, it is treated with an appropriate disinfectant (such as Virkon or a surfactant disinfectant or detergent). Vehicles must not drive over this area for the contact time required for that disinfectant (e.g. Virkon – 10 minutes).
  • The biosecurity officer will inspect the corral and may direct remedial cleaning if necessary

Note: A BIP operating a corral has separate requirements under their approved arrangement with the department. They must comply with all cleaning requirements set out under their arrangement , and where directed by a biosecurity officer, the process or part thereof will be supervised by the department.

Disinfection

When disinfecting the corral, contractors must:

  • Spray all ground and hard surfaces with an appropriate broad spectrum disinfectant, approved by the department for use with imported horses. Appropriate disinfectants include:
    • Halogens: bleach
    • Oxidising agents: Virkon
    • Alcohols: ethanol, isopropyl
    • Phenolics: Biogram
    • Quaternary ammonium compounds: F10SC, Vantocil FHC, Phytoclean, Cavicide, Trigene II
    • Alkalis: sodium hydroxide (caustic soda, soda ash, lye)
  • If using Virkon, the solution must be made to a 1% solution as per the manufacturer’s directions. Note that the contractor must be able to demonstrate correct concentration to a biosecurity officer and prove that the disinfectant is before its expiry date.
  • Ensure there is sufficient pressure to deliver a complete coverage of disinfectant on all surfaces (including ground). The disinfectant must not be washed off until the contact time required for that disinfectant has elapsed (e.g. for Virkon, the disinfectant solution should be in contact with all surfaces for more than 10 minutes).
  • The biosecurity officer will inspect the corral and may direct remedial disinfection if necessary.

Note: A BIP operating a corral has separate requirements under their approved arrangement with the department. They must comply with all cleaning requirements set out under their agreement, and where directed by a biosecurity officer, the process or part thereof will be supervised by the department.

Biosecurity measures for horse stalls

All horse stalls, crates and air pallets used for the import of live horses are required to be cleaned at an AA site as soon as possible after the horse has been unloaded.

Securing biosecurity risk material in horse stalls

The importer/contractor must secure any BRM in or on the outside of the horse stalls to prevent its escape prior to cleaning and disinfection. BRM can be secured by:

  • Placing all equipment (e.g. boards and poles) back into the stalls.
  • Closing the doors of the stalls.
  • Making sure the flaps are down.
  • Removing any contamination on the outside of the stalls and placing this into a biosecurity waste bin.
  • Applying shrink wrap to seal the horse stalls if required.

If the stalls need to be moved to an AA site for cleaning, a biosecurity officer will apply biosecurity hold tape to the sealed stalls and issue treatment directions for the stalls to be cleaned (and moved for cleaning in an enclosed truck/tautliner).

If a BIP operating a horse corral has permission to clean and disinfect horse stalls under their approved arrangement, the stalls will not need to be moved. H old tape and movement directions will not be required .

Conditions for approved washbay for cleaning horse stalls

Horse stalls are required to be cleaned at an AA site (Class 4.3/1.1/1.3) with an approved wash bay.

Note: When stalls cannot be moved to an AA site immediately, stalls are required to be secured as described above to prevent escape of BRM. The stalls can then be stored in a secure area before movement to an AA site or into the corral for cleaning.

Cleaning of horse stalls at an AA site

When cleaning horse stalls, personnel must:

  • Have only necessary equipment present in the wash bay prior to opening horse stalls. Any other equipment, which is not required for cleaning and disinfection, must be removed/locked away prior to opening the horse stalls.
  • Remove the biosecurity hold tape only when the stall is ready to be cleaned and place it in a biosecurity waste bin (if applicable).
  • Remove the feed, litter and all solid waste in the stalls, and place in the biosecurity waste bin.
  • Release any imported water remaining in the stall to the sewerage system or treat it with chlorine internally and then the container with Virkon externally. The Virkon must remain in contact for at least 10 minutes prior to removal/disposal/release.
  • Clean all surfaces of the stall, including external surfaces and underneath the stall, with a high pressure hose containing detergent and water.
  • Remove all BRM (including seeds) from the hay nets and mosquito nets. A biosecurity officer will inspect these nets and supervise treatment with a disinfectant. Alternatively, the nets can be disposed of as biosecurity waste.
  • Thoroughly clean all equipment (e.g. waterproof footwear and clothing) used in the wash bay prior to removal from the wash bay and at the conclusion of the cleaning operation each day.

Disinfection of horse stalls at an AA site

Once cleaning is complete, the BIP may disinfect the horse stall if it is part of their approved arrangement. The BIP must then organise for a biosecurity officer to inspect the cleaned and disinfected stall. The biosecurity officer will inspect the stalls and may direct remedial cleaning and disinfection if necessary.

If disinfection is not part of their approved arrangement, the AA site must organise for a biosecurity officer to inspect the cleaned stall. The biosecurity officer will inspect the stalls and may direct remedial cleaning if necessary. The AA site personnel will then spray the cleaned stalls with disinfectant under the direct supervision of the biosecurity officer.

A disinfectant (such as Virkon) must remain on the stalls for at least 10 minutes to ensure effective disinfection of the surfaces. The disinfection process should be carried out in a systematic fashion to ensure that areas that have been disinfected are not re-contaminated. A recommended order of cleaning is roof-wall-floor and this should be adopted in each horse stall.

Contractor biosecurity requirements

Contractors or AA site personnel cleaning and disinfecting the corral are required to:

  • Have read and understood and comply with this notice.
  • Wear dedicated clothing and footwear whilst cleaning the corral. The clothing must be laundered. If there is visible dirt on the footwear, it must be scrubbed to remove the dirt and then disinfected.
  • Undertake a complete head to toe, 3 minute shower and change into clean clothing and footwear immediately following completion of cleaning/disinfection.

Document information

The following table contains administrative metadata.

Document owner:

Director of Horse, Livestock and Bird Imports Program

Document ID:

n/a

FOI exemption:

No

TRIM file number:

2015/54213E

Review date:

June 2019

Version history

The following table details the published date and amendment details for this document.

Version

Date

Amendment details

1.0

10/06/14

Developed from references 2.1 and 2.7.

2.0

14/04/15

Updated following internal audit.

3.0

24/11/15

Updated to manage increased volumes of horse imports at Melbourne airport.

4.01/12/2015Updated to clarify QAP requirements.
5.016/06/2016Updates to comply with the Biosecurity Act 2015
6.03/1/2018Update for consistency with BICON, revised disinfection arrangements for AA sites and accommodate AA site corral commencing operations.
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Last reviewed: 4 November 2019
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