Rules allow room to move
Regional council rules around dairy effluent are clear and easily understood so there’s no real excuse for not applying them, says Brian Nicholson of effluent advisers Hi- Tech Enviro Solutions.
‘‘ Some suggest the rules are hard to follow but the fact that they have not changed for nearly 20 years is a real plus for good designers of dairy effluent systems and farmers.
‘‘ Each farm is different and rather than having extremely prescriptive rules that are not relevant to every farm, we have a degree of luxury and freedom in the Waikato with the farmer able to design and install something that is practical for their individual property.’’
This allows farmers to assume whatever level of risk they feel they can safely manage to meet the council rules, Mr Nicholson said.
‘‘ For example, in some areas of New Zealand, if you have a travelling irrigator, you must have an electronic monitoring system to shut the pump off once the travelling irrigator stops moving.
‘‘ While we strongly recommend that they are used, a farmer in the Waikato can choose to install it now, later, or manage the risk by other methods.’’
However, this can be difficult due to the age of some systems, the way effluent system designers have interpreted rules, or poor decisions made by some farmers, Mr Nicholson said.
Muck Matters is supplied each month by Waikato Regional Council.