Monday, May 20, 2024

EPA issues fine over dairy farm effluent dumping

EPA Victoria has fined a farmer in the Fish Creek district almost $2,000 for allowing more than 1,000 litres of dairy effluent to flow into a waterway that leads to Shallow Inlet.

The Authority says officers conducting a proactive inspection discovered effluent draining from an effluent pond through a pipe and into an unnamed waterway.

They also found signs that a nearby sump had overflowed, leaving pools of effluent on open ground.

The $1,923 fine is the latest in a series of infringement notices issued by EPA officers as they conduct proactive inspections on dairy farms across Gippsland.

EPA Gippsland Regional Manager, Jessica Bandiera says the mismanagement of dairy effluent is a problem right across the region, and the proactive inspections of dairy farms will continue.

“Dairy effluent must not be allowed into waterways. It is high in substances that can be toxic and pose a risk to the environment, stock and people’s health,” Ms Bandiera said. 

“Properly managed on the farm, it becomes useful fertiliser, but flowing into a waterway it is a hazard to wildlife and neighbouring farms,” she said.

EPA and other agencies offer advice for landholders on how to comply with the law and make sure dairy effluent is a valuable resource and not a threat to the environment.

“EPA officers can give landholders compliance advice for minor issues, or issue regulatory notices listing the required actions to fix a more pressing problem, but EPA won’t hesitate to issue fines where serious mismanagement makes it necessary,” Ms Bandiera said.

Every Victorian has a duty under the law to take reasonable actions to protect the environment, and in this case, the landholder has been issued with an EPA Improvement Notice requiring the dairy effluent system to be modified to prevent any further discharges into waterways. 

For information about managing dairy effluent go to epa.vic.gov.au/for-business/find-a-topic/effluent-dairy-farm.

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