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EPA issues fine for dairy effluent spill

25 August 2014

A dairy farmer from Tasmania’s north-west has been fined by the EPA for discharging dairy effluent into a nearby creek.

Last month, EPA officers issued an Environment Infringement Notice (EIN) totalling $1300.

Director EPA Alex Schaap said the EPA’s Incident Response Unit received a report from a member of the public in February regarding dairy effluent being deposited in a creek.

“The creek flows downstream through a number of private properties and while the exact volume is unknown, a significant amount of dairy effluent was deposited into the creek,” Mr. Schaap said.

“Evidence gathered during the investigation indicates that the discharge occurred over a lengthy period of time."

“The most likely cause was that the existing Dairy Effluent Management System was inadequate to deal with the number of cows being milked on the property."

“An investigation was conducted, resulting in the issuing of the EIN which has been paid.”

Mr. Schaap said other relevant authorities have been advised about the fine.

“While the EPA does not directly regulate dairies it does work cooperatively with the relevant regulators such as the local Council and the Tasmanian Dairy Industry Authority to reduce the impacts of dairy operations on our waterways," Mr. Schaap.

"Dairy effluent contains high concentrations of nutrients which can contribute to algal blooms, reduce oxygen levels and impact on invertebrate and fish life if permitted to enter waterways."

Mr. Schaap said that this incident is a timely reminder for all dairy farmers to ensure that their Dairy Effluent Management System is appropriately sized for the number of cows milked on the property and adequately maintained to prevent discharges of dairy effluent to waterways.

The Environment Protection Authority is responsible for implementing and enforcing the Environmental Management and Pollution Control Act(EMPCA).