Media release

Media release: Workshops on dealing with dairy effluent next month

Wednesday 28 June 2023

The Otago Regional Council is running the first two of a series of dairy farmer workshops in July, advising around regulations and consenting for effluent storage ponds and its discharge to land.

ORC’s Acting Manger Consents, Alexandra King, says the new rules have been in place for about 18-months around effluent ponds and the discharge of effluent to land, which applies to several hundred farms in Otago. These rules were introduced through Plan Change 8 to the Water Plan last year.

“While there’s been a lot of engagement with dairy farmers through the annual compliance programme over the last two years, including workshops and letters to dairy farmers, this is another opportunity to ask questions and get advice,” she says.

The two-hour workshops will be run in South and North Otago, respectively on 4 and 6 July.

ORC’s Compliance staff have been out on more than 302 dairy farms this year; and visited 277 the previous season, talking with the farmers about this issue and other compliance regulations, she says.

“Most of these farms will need a consent for their dairy effluent storage at some stage over the next 30 months,” Ms King says.

Farmers need to be considering the volume of effluent storage they have on their farm, when they need to potentially install new storage facilities or have the resource consents in place to do so.

“The two workshops aim to provide consent and compliance advice for dairy effluent systems and will also offer guidance from industry experts,” she says.

There will be speakers from the ORC’s Consents and Compliance teams and technical and best practice advice from industry experts and industry representatives.

Ms King says some farms may require substantial investment in effluent infrastructure to comply, which could include engaging engineers and planning for future modifications, replacement, or enlargement, she says.

“Now is time for farmers to begin this process so they are on the path toward making the required changes,” she says.

Ms King says the new provisions introduced last year include setting minimum standards for animal effluent storage and its application to land, and for the establishment of small in-stream sediment traps where required.

“Ultimately, these protections are to safeguard the future of waterways, which directly support various natural eco-systems, but including farmland,” she says.


Workshop details

Registration for both workshops is necessary

South Otago - Dairy Effluent Information Session
Tuesday 4 July 2023, 1-3pm
Tokomairiro Rugby Club, Union Street, Milton

North Otago - Dairy Effluent Information Session
Thursday 6 July 2023, 1-3pm
Weston Community Hall, 20 Main Street, Weston


Background to rule changes

In June last year ORC Councillors ratified changes to the operative Regional Plan: Water for Otago, which allowed some key parts of proposed ‘Plan change 8’, which related to rural discharges, to become operative - which started from 4 June last year.

View a fact sheet about effluent
View a fact sheet about effluent storage consents
View a fact sheet about rules, definitions and timelines for effluent

ORC Catchment Advisors can be contacted on 0800 474 082

Advice can be sought from