Saturday, April 20, 2024

Uptick in Southland’s serious dairy discharge citations

Neal Wallace
Twenty-five cases of significant non-compliance reported in 2022-23 season.
A bolus is being developed that could reduce animal emissions by as much as 70% over six months.
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There has been a slight increase in the number of significantly non-compliant dairy discharge permit inspections recorded in Southland in the past year.

A compliance monitoring report prepared by Environment Southland shows 25 cases of significant non-compliance were reported in the 2022-23 season, up from 23 a year earlier and 13 in 2020-21.

The council report noted that it also had to contend with amended winter grazing rules, which come into effect for the 2022-23 year.

The compliance division identified 111 potential winter grazing sites that could have issues, sending 97 advice and education letters to landowners.

Four calls were made to the council’s pollution hotline, with two confirmed and two unconfirmed incidents.

Environment Southland’s general manager of integrated catchment management, Paul Hulse, said the council is pleased with winter grazing practices.

“We continue to work with farmers and industry groups to encourage and enable compliance regarding the rules, and to encourage best practice and positive environmental outcomes around the likes of buffers, slopes, and critical source areas.” 

Council staff completed 933 dairy discharge permit inspections during the year, with 172 by air and 761 on-site inspections.

Of those, 665 (71%) were fully compliant, 178 (19%) were graded low-risk noncompliance, 65 (7%)were graded moderate non-compliance, and 25 (3%) were graded significant noncompliance.

This compares with 2021-22, when 895 on-site and aerial dairy shed effluent discharge consent inspections were completed, with 701 fully compliant, 171 graded low risk or moderate non-compliance, and 23 graded significant non-compliance

A year earlier, 2020-21, the council made 960 on-site and aerial dairy shed effluent discharge consent inspections, of which 747 were fully compliant, 200 were graded low risk or moderate non-compliance, and 13 were graded significant non-compliance.

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