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Farmers to use emergency milk disposal option

Wednesday, 26 October 2011 8:00 a.m.

Following the major disruption to the gas pipeline supply network to the upper North Island today, emergency disposal of milk by farmers may be required over the coming days.

Bay of Plenty Regional Council Pollution Prevention Manager Nick Zaman said that farmers will need to ensure they follow the guidelines carefully and avoid direct contamination of waterways.

"The gas supply cut will affect a number of industries in our region, particularly milk processing factories," he said.

"This means that there will be large amounts of milk waste to be disposed of. Irrigation of waste milk to land is the preferred option of disposal in an emergency situation," said Mr Zaman.

As a result of milk spraying there may be odour issues for neighbouring properties and we ask for the public's understanding as gas is restored. Farmers should be diluting the milk at a ratio of 1:10 when discharging it onto land, as this helps reduce any possible effects to pasture, and also minimise any odour production. After irrigating the diluted milk, clean water should be flushed through the system, again to help minimise odour.

"This is an emergency situation so hopefully people can be tolerant of the temporary odour as they can be assured this is the best option to protect the environment," Mr Zaman said.

Key messages for farmers:

  • Irrigation of waste milk to land is the preferred option of disposal
  • Avoid any direct discharge to waterways
  • Prevent ponding of wastewater and overland flow into waterways, including drains, when irrigating
  • Try to avoid irrigating near property boundaries to minimise odour potential
  • Irrigate to land at a dilution of 1:10 with water to avoid damage to pasture
  • Flush irrigation lines with clean water following application of milk to pasture
  • No more than four days worth of milk should be discharged to your effluent pond system

If you're unable to dispose of your milk in accordance with the guide, please contact Bay of Plenty Regional Council Pollution Prevention Team Leader, Steve Pickles on 0800 884 880.

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