Dairy farmers who allow dairy effluent to flow into stormwater drains and contaminate waterways have been put on notice by the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) following the sixth such fine in Gippsland in the past year.
EPA Gippsland Manager Stephen Lansdell said it was disappointing that experienced farmers were continuing to do the wrong thing, with more than 50 per cent of dairy farms inspected last financial year receiving a Pollution Abatement Notice to address risks and impacts from effluent management systems.
Following reports from members of the public, a Nayook-Powelltown Rd, Neerim Junction farm was issued a pollution abatement notice to install an effluent containment system by January 2019 and fined $1903.
Mr Lansdell said in the meantime, the property had been issued a minor works pollution abatement notice to stop dairy effluent from polluting land or entering surface waters and had immediately taken measures to prevent runoff from a broken trafficable solids sump pump.
“Effluent in our waterways reduces the water quality and disrupts the natural nutrient balance, which can lead to excessive algae and a reduction of fish stocks. It also has the potential to transfer disease, which is why EPA takes it so seriously,” he said.
“There is a lot of information available for dairy farmers and EPA has also recently released a suite of documents to help businesses to the right thing.
“EPA along with our colleagues from Ag VIC will be attending the Wellington Shire Council Agribusiness Forum in August and the South Gippsland Dairy Expo in September to discuss compliance obligations and will be happy to talk through any issues or concerns with farmers.”
Mr Lansdell thanked members of the Neerim Junction community for their reports and vigilance.
“Everyone has a role to play in protecting our environment and we encourage anyone who is concerned about pollution to report it to 1300 372 842 (1300 EPA VIC),” he said.
Businesses can assess their environmental risks with EPA’s Accessing and controlling risk: A guide for business at https://www.epa.vic.gov.au/our-work/publications
Under the Environmental Protection Act 1970 and the Infringements Act 2008, the farmer has the right to have the infringement notice reviewed or to have the matter determined by a court.
Source: EPA Victoria