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