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Work to continue to improve dairy effluent compliance levels

Thursday, 23 February 2012 3:30 p.m.

Bay of Plenty Regional Council will continue to work with the dairy industry to improve dairy effluent compliance levels following recent monitoring.

As part of the Regional Council's routine compliance monitoring programme, 312 dairy farms were visited in late 2011, with 67 percent (208 farms) found to be meeting all conditions in their consents. This is down from 72 percent the previous year.

Chairman of the Regional Council's Operations, Monitoring and Regulation Committee Malcolm Whitaker said while the results were disappointing, the council recognised that there were many farmers in the region who were working hard to make sure they were meeting their consent conditions 365 days a year.

"We congratulate those farmers who are doing a good job, especially those in the Pāpāmoa/Pongakawa/Matatā area, and the Rangitāiki/Tarawera catchments who had the lowest levels of significant non-compliance," Mr Whitaker said.

 "We've been and will continue to work closely with a Bay of Plenty Dairy Stakeholders working group, which included representatives from Federated Farmers, DairyNZ, Fonterra and Open Country Dairies, to try to increase the region's dairy effluent compliance levels."

Bay of Plenty Regional Council staff inspected all aspects of the effluent treatment and/or disposal systems during their visits. This included inspecting the location of stormwater diversion systems, checking effluent sumps, pipeworks, ponds, irrigation systems and checking for obvious signs of seepage or overflows from effluent ponds into waterways.

Mr Whitaker said the monitoring criteria for dairy effluent compliance was the same for all regional councils.

Staff will be taking the results of this season's monitoring back to the Bay of Plenty Dairy Stakeholders Group meeting in April to discuss.

Upcoming Dairy Expo

Bay of Plenty Regional Council staff will attend next week's Dairy Expo at the Mystery Creek Events Centre, answering questions and providing advice to farmers about effluent management. The expo is being organised by DairyNZ and Waikato Regional Council, and brings together more than 40 exhibitors to promote effluent management solutions. Farmers from throughout the Bay of Plenty, Waikato and Auckland regions are expected to attend.

The Effluent Expo is being held on Tuesday 28 February, from 9am through to 3.30pm at the Mystery Creek Events Centre.


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