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Farmers to use emergency milk disposal option

Monday, 2 January 2012 11:30 a.m.

Following road closures, slips and flooding in the eastern Bay of Plenty, emergency disposal of milk by farmers may be required during the coming days.

Bay of Plenty Regional Council Water Management Group Manager Eddie Grogan said that Fonterra had contacted Regional Council this morning to explain the situation.

There is still extensive flooding and road closures in the eastern Bay following the recent heavy rainfall and this meant that some farmers would need to dump milk as collecting it was not possible.

Mr Grogan said that farmers would need to ensure they followed the guidelines carefully and avoided direct contamination of waterways.

"The heavy rainfall means that there will be large amounts of milk that farmers will need to dispose of on site.  Irrigation of waste milk to land is the preferred option of disposal in an emergency situation, however given the flooding of paddocks, this may not be possible for all farmers," Mr Grogan said.

As a result of milk disposal there may be odour issues for neighbouring properties and we ask for the public's understanding as the flood water recedes and roads are reopened. 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 Hotline 0800 884 880.

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