Bet­ter con­trol of ef­flu­ent

South Waikato News - - Motoring - GER­ALD PIDDOCK

Two-thirds of Waipa catch­ment dairy farm­ers are meet­ing their ef­flu­ent re­quire­ments af­ter in­spec­tions by the Waikato Re­gional Coun­cil, how­ever eight were found to be lag­ging be­hind.

Coun­cil staff vis­ited 212 farms in Jan­uary and Fe­bru­ary of this year. Of those in­spected, 41 were fully com­pli­ant, 99 were pro­vi­sion­ally com­pli­ant, 65 achieved par­tial com­pli­ance and 8 were sig­nif­i­cantly non-com­pli­ant.

Farms are deemed pro­vi­sion­ally com­pli­ant if the coun­cil is un­cer­tain whether the ef­flu­ent pond achieved the re­quired seal­ing stan­dard, de­spite there be­ing no is­sues on the in­spec­tion day. When com­bined with the fully com­pli­ant farms, two thirds of the farms were com­pli­ant.

The vis­its are part of the coun­cil’s ef­flu­ent com­pli­ance mon­i­tor­ing through­out the year. The data was re­leased by coun­cil staff at a Dairynz-run ‘Ask Us’ event at the Don Row­lands Cen­tre on May 4.

The vis­its looked at com­pli­ance on the day, the farm’s in­fra­struc­ture in­clud­ing the pond’s seal­ing stan­dard and size and how ef­flu­ent was man­aged by the farmer.

‘‘We also look at in­fra­struc­ture and this in­cludes sumps, ponds, tanks and ba­si­cally this is your risk of non-com­pli­ance. We are look­ing at the abil­ity for your in­fra­struc­ture to make you com­pli­ant 365 days of the year,’’ the coun­cil’s re­source of­fice Ryan Mor­ri­son said.

WRC sus­tain­able agri­cul­ture ad­vi­sor John Vosper said the fig­ures were fairly in­dica­tive of the whole re­gion.

While hav­ing only 41 out of 212 farms deemed fully com­pli­ant was ‘‘not great’’ when looked at in iso­la­tion, it had to be put into con­text with the 99 farm­ers who were pro­vi­sion­ally com­pli­ant.

‘‘Those farm­ers are on the right track, they just need to pro­vide some ev­i­dence,’’ he said.

Mor­ri­son said there was pos­i­tive change hap­pen­ing around com­pli­ance among farm­ers. He said there had been a lot of move­ment by farm­ers from in­suf­fi­cient to prop­erly sealed ponds and he had no­ticed a change of at­ti­tude among farm­ers around proper ef­flu­ent stor­age.

‘‘[It’s] def­i­nitely in at­ti­tude and un­der­stand­ing.’’

Pond lin­ers are used to en­sure ef­flu­ent does not leak from the pond into nearby ground­wa­ter.

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