Effluent Compliance

All states and territories have minimum standards that dairies must comply with in regard to effluent, including legislation, codes of practices, guidelines and planning provisions to prevent any adverse impact from dairy effluent.

Effluent management

Dairy effluent is considered a potential point source for the pollution of waterways. Effluent mismanagement has the potential to impact water quality resulting in degradation of environmental assets.

The fundamental principles of managing dairy effluent should ensure:

  • All effluent from the dairy, feedpads, standoff areas, underpasses and tracks are contained and reused (on pastures and crops).
  • Effluent must not enter surface waters including billabongs, canals, springs, swamps, natural or artificial channels, lakes, lagoons, creeks and rivers.
  • Runoff containing effluent must not leave the property boundary.
  • Effluent must not enter ground waters either directly or through infiltration.
  • Effluent must not contaminate land (that is, avoid nutrient overload).
  • Offensive odours must not impact beyond property boundaries.

Effluent standards

Effluent standards per state vary and are noted below.

New South Wales

  • Environmental management guidelines for the dairy industry – New South Wales Department of Primary Industries.


  • Natural resource management and climate change – Subtropical Dairy.

South Australia

  • Codes of practice – Environmental Protection Authority South Australia.


  • Effluent management – Tasmanian Dairy Industry Authority.
  • Tasmanian effluent advice, services and contacts – DairyTas.


  • Management of dairy effluent – Dairy Gains Victorian guidelines.
  • Managing effluent – Agriculture Victoria.

Western Australia

  • Code of Practice for Dairy Farm Effluent Management WA – Western Dairy 2021.


Farmers can also receive support from Dairy Australia’s farm system experts by attending a two-day workshop. It offers a great opportunity to connect with and learn from other farmers that are considering a farm system change.

The workshop will enable farmers to:

  • Outline their business objectives to determine the most suitable farm system.
  • Share initial versions of their strategic and action plans for group feedback.
  • Make an informed decision about the options and considerations for investing in a new system.
  • Get ready to start the planning, implementation and operation of their chosen system.

Register your interest in future workshops or request further information using the form below.

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