If your property has a landfill or an offal pit, you must make sure it doesn’t pollute the land, water or air

Preventing pollution

A farm landfill may be small, but its effect on the environment can be significant, especially if it’s uncontrolled or unmanaged. 

Our rules for farm landfills are designed to protect the environment. You must give the ORC the exact location of your landfill or offal pit so we can monitor it. 

Protecting our environment

If a landfill or offal pit is poorly designed, or not managed and maintained well, it can cause: 

  • contamination of soil in surrounding land 
  • leachate entering nearby rivers, streams, ponds, wetlands, springs or lakes 
  • contamination of domestic drinking water or water for livestock 
  • groundwater seepage 
  • visual unsightliness 
  • noxious odour

What can I do?

Start by thinking about where to put your landfill or offal pit. It must be: 

  • at least 100m from any wells that supply water for domestic drinking or livestock 
  • at least 50m from any waterway, including lakes, streams, rivers, wetlands and groundwater 
  • at least 50m from the closest property boundary 
  • in an area free from ponding, flooding or erosion 
  • away from any areas used for offal pits within the past five years 
  • away from any areas of cultural, historical or conservation significance 


Farm landfills and offal pits must be: 

  • constructed so that leachate does not enter any water body 
  • dug to avoid groundwater seeping in



Farm landfills must only contain material generated on the property. 

  • Do not dispose of any hazardous waste, such as unwanted agrichemicals, batteries, used oil, or treated timber in your farm landfill
  • Do not dispose of any sewage, animal effluent or offal in your farm landfill
  • Do not burn anything in your farm landfill – this can create toxic pollutants
  • You can minimise the waste generated on your farm by reusing things where possible and recycling scrap metal, silage wrap and empty agrichemical containers
  • Record the location of your farm landfills for future owners

Offal pits

  • Only dispose of dead animals in your offal pit. Nothing but offal is allowed in an offal pit

Good practice

Here are some good practice tips for landfills and offal pits: 

  • Dig your landfill or offal pit dug into clay soils if you have them on your property. 
  • If your groundwater table is high, consider using a narrow trench for your offal pit, and mounding the dirt above the ground. 
  • Cover your landfill or offal pit with a concrete slab that is at least 125mm thick and has an airtight cover plate to keep it safe for children and to discourage pests. 
  • To aid decomposition of dead animals in your offal pit, slit the stomach to let the intestines out and puncture the rumen on the left side to prevent gas build-up. 
  • Once your offal pit is filled to within a metre of the surface, backfill it with compacted earth and re-grass or plant a tree over it. 
  • Record the location of your offal pits for future owners. 
  • Try to minimise the waste going to your offal pit. You can compost dead stock or have it collected for rendering. 


Plastic waste

New Zealand has national recycling schemes for triple-rinsed agrichemical containers, drums, silage wrap, silage covers, shrink wrap, feed bags, twine, polypropylene bags, net and irrigation pipes. 


Agrecovery – 0800 247 326 or agrecovery.co.nz 

Plasback – 0508 338 240 or plasback.co.nz 

Agrichemical disposal

To dispose of unwanted agrichemicals or arrange collection, contact Agrecovery – 0800 247 326 or www.agrecovery.co.nz 

Note: Your city or district council may accept chemicals at your local transfer station or landfill. 

Reporting pollution


Phone the ORC Pollution Hotline 24/7 on 0800 800 033. 

Phone our environmental services staff on 0800 474 082.

Page last updated 21 June 2024.