EPA Waste Determinations
Effluent & safe storage of tyres for fodder – the breakdown
A new Victorian Environmental Protection Act (EPA) and underpinning regulations are coming into force 1 July 2021. The new Act and regulations represent a significant change in environmental management across Victoria, with a move from prosecution to prevention of environmental damage.
Key issues for dairy include a reclassification of effluent waste as an ‘industrial waste’, and a reiteration of limits on the number of tyres allowed to be stored on farm before a permit is required.
Dairy Australia, Agriculture Victoria, Victorian Farmers Federation(VFF) and United Dairy farmers of Victoria (UDV) have been working closely with the EPA regarding the changes. This is to ensure that the new regulations for on-farm environmental management are practical, easy to manage, and do not replicate the extensive risk management processes and procedures that farmers already undertake.
The new categorisation of effluent as an ‘industrial waste’ has raised concerns within the dairy industry. At this stage, the EPA has verbally advised that this classification will not necessarily result in changes to current practice, given the industry’s record of managing effluent well. Further advice regarding this is expected from the EPA soon. It is likely however that some Victorian dairy farmers may not be compliant with current or future regulations around storage and use of tyres on-farm.
Currently, a permit is required for storage of more than 5000 tyres. This is likely to continue in the new regulations in some form. Arrangements for farms that use and store more than 5000 tyres are still being developed and it is not yet clear what the requirement of a licencing system will be.
Dairy Australia, UDV and EPA Victoria are currently working together towards compliance standards for storage of tyres. This enables the dairy industry to work towards a regime that recognises how tyres are used within the dairy farming system and to achieve risk management that demonstrates compliance with EPA requirements.
Dairy Australia has prepared a guide on best-practice management of tyres on-farm to help achieve compliance with EPA requirements. This can be found on the Dairy Australia website Safe Use of Tyres. Dairy Australia and UDV aim to ensure that arrangements on the 1stof July 2021 reflect current practice as far as possible, by providing data and advice to the EPA as guidelines are developed.
Further advice regarding the proposed changes, and any changes, will be provided as soon as they are confirmed.