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Rule 13 Agricultural effluent

Rule 13 Agricultural effluent

Updated 23 November 2012 12:20pm

The discharge of collected agricultural effluent, except composted agricultural effluent, into or onto land from:

(1) dairy sheds;

(2) piggeries;

(3) poultry farms; or

(4) other premises, involving the concentration of livestock in a confined area, from which effluent is collected and discharged;

is a Controlled Activity and shall comply with the standards and terms below.

Standards and terms

(a) no contaminants shall be able to enter water which is not part of the treatment system, except by way of imperceptible seepage, as a result of:

(i) inadequate storage facilities;

(ii) seepage or leakage from any part of the system, including treatment and storage facilities;

(iii) runoff into any surface water body;

(iv) spray drift;

(v) insufficient spreading of effluent;

(vi) application of effluent to water-logged or flooded land; or

(vii) equipment failure;

(b) the discharge shall occur no less than 20 metres from the neighbouring property boundary, any surface water body, farm drain, water supply race, any bore, or the coastal marine area;

(c) the system shall be maintained in an efficient operating condition at all times; and

(d) no stormwater collected from roofs or surrounding land shall be allowed to enter the system.


The Wellington Regional Council shall exercise control over:

(1) the method and rate of effluent application;

(2) provisions for desludging the system and applying sludge to land;

(3) monitoring requirements;

(4) the duration of the consent;

(5) administrative charges.

Explanation. Rule 13 applies to agricultural effluent which is collected and discharged into or onto land. The rule does not apply to the discharge of effluent in an unmanaged or unconfined situation where the volume and effects of the effluent are such that it does not require collection and disposal (e.g., discharges from individual animals, such as house cows). The rules cover discharges from oxidation ponds or other storage facilities, and discharges from the irrigation of effluent (treated or untreated) onto land. Composted agricultural effluent is widely used as a fertiliser and soil conditioner with no adverse effects. Effluent in this form is not regulated by this rule.

DairyNZ have a manual A Guide to Managing Farm Dairy Effluent - 2009. The manual was prepared to help dairy farmers and farm management specialists with the practical, effective, safe and legal management of farm dairy effluent. They also have information covering Waste Management, Soils, Nutrient Management, Irrigation, Feedpad & Standoff Facilities, Farm Tracks & Races, Chemical Storage & Disposal.