Wednesday, 28 October 2020 14:19

Looming effluent rules discussed at field day

Written by  Staff Reporters
Around 50 people attended a field day in Otago recently to discuss looming regional effluent rules. Around 50 people attended a field day in Otago recently to discuss looming regional effluent rules.

A recent field day in Otago to discuss looming new effluent storage and discharge rules attracted 50 farmers and rural professionals.

The field day at Scott Johnstone’s Moneymore Dairies at Milton was run by RDA Consulting, a regionally-based environmental consultancy firm.

RDA Consulting chief executive, Jason Harvey-Wills, told the farmers that RDA was happy to share information, assess issues and help farmers with solutions to get their environmental requirements dealt with.   

“We are aligned and passionate about the primary production industry and are well set up with the right expertise, tools and track record from Southland to help them to implement changes required by both the new Otago effluent rules and the National Environmental Standards (NES) for freshwater management,” Harvey-Wills says.

Under the new rules recently notified Otago Regional Council Plan Change 8, farmers in the region will be required to prove that their effluent storage pond is sized in accordance with the dairy effluent storage calculator. 

RDA Consulting project engineer Karen Ladbrook and environmental consultant Georgia Robinson spoke at the field day, explaining step-by-step how the Massey University dairy effluent storage calculator (DESC) works. The DESC is designed to determine how much deferred storage is required to hold effluent for those days when it is risky to apply effluent onto land. 

“You should only irrigate effluent to land when conditions are suitable so that effluent does not run off to waterways or drain through the soil and contaminate groundwater. Ideally, you should be irrigating when effluent nutrients can be taken up by plants,” Ladbrook said. 

The farmers had an opportunity to look at Moneymore Dairies’ effluent system starting at the cow shed, tracking the path of the effluent to the stone trap and sump, over to the sludge beds and out into the pond. Ladbrook emphasised the importance of having an operational management plan to mitigate risks identified for each of the components of the effluent system. 

Robinson told farmers that under the recently notified rules, they will likely require a pond drop test if your pond does not have a leak detection system, is not of impervious concrete construction or is not an above ground tank.

The test uses specialised electronic probes to determine if gross leakage is occurring in an effluent pond. 

She demonstrated the process of setting up a pond drop test and provided graphical examples of pass and fail results. 

 RDA Consulting senior farm environmental leader James Muwunganirwa says farmer feedback from the field day highlighted an increased understanding of the new rules and what they mean on their farm. 

“At RDA we are seeing a continued need to assist farmers with the raft of new rules coming through from central government and regional councils. 

“Plan change 8 is just one of these, but wetland identification, effluent system design, consenting, freshwater plans and water takes are all areas where we are seeing strong demand to help our clients.”

Muwunganirwa urged farmers to seek professional advice to understand their current situation and what they may need to do to meet the new requirements.

• For more information go to: https://rda.co.nz/otago-plan-changes/

More like this

Have your say

DairyNZ says it will complete a submission on both the winter grazing and the freshwater farm plan consultations, providing firm feedback to Government.

Choosing the right pump

Choosing the right pump for an effluent system is the key to ensuring a system works well and gives many years of reliable service.

Treating effluent while the sun shines

Handling the challenges of effluent management could become easier with a new product that allows dairy farmers to treat their effluent systems as a routine part of weekly milking shed maintenance.

Time to put your foot forward

The Government's recent decision to delay Intensive Winter Grazing (IWG) rules until May 2022, following pressure from farming and industry groups, has provided farmers with a year-long opportunity to demonstrate how best practice management on-farm can influence future environmental policy.

National

Machinery & Products

Effluent injection goes XL

Dutch effluent specialist Vredo is testing 15 and 18-metre wide slurry injection rigs for the upcoming 2022 spreading season.

Choosing the right pump

Choosing the right pump for an effluent system is the key to ensuring a system works well and gives many…

Spreading muck with ease

Palmerston North headquartered Strautmann Hopkins Ltd imports the extensive range of Strautmann Muck Spreaders for farmers and contractors, built by…

» The RNG Weather Report

» Latest Print Issues Online

Milking It

Liquid or powder?

Fonterra, the biggest exporter of milk powder to Sri Lanka, may have a new battle on its hands.

Failed legal action

UK vegan and animal rights groups have failed in a bid to ban an advertising campaign promoting meat and dairy…

» Connect with Dairy News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter