Waikato Regional Council: Take care with effluent ponds following rain

Effluent should not be irrigated on to saturated pastures as this risks contaminants getting into waterways. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Effluent should not be irrigated on to saturated pastures as this risks contaminants getting into waterways. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Following the heavy rain that's struck the region recently Waikato Regional Council is reminding farmers it can help with advice on managing effluent pond levels.

Effluent should not be irrigated on to saturated pastures as this risks contaminants getting into waterways and affecting their health.

However, heavy rain helping to fill up ponds means farmers can be under more pressure to empty them to stop effluent spilling out in large and difficult to manage amounts, which can end up in waterways.

"We acknowledge some ponds will be close to overtopping due to the rain but farmers still need to do everything they can ensure they don't overtop and that effluent is not applied to saturated pasture," says the council's farming services team leader Stuart Stone.

"They should actively manage their ponds and take all reasonable steps to prevent effluent from entering waterways."

Options for lowering pond levels other than irrigating to pasture include looking to transport material away by tanker for disposal or using some else's surplus storage. It's also worth ensuring stormwater system flows are diverted away from ponds.

"Also normal pasture irrigation can occur if conditions are suitable," says Mr Stone.

If farmers feel their pond is at risk of overtopping, or they want other effluent-related advice, they can call the farming services team on 0800 800 401.

- The Country

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