The stock effluent spill beside State Highway 6 near the
Frankton Golf Course earlier this month. Photo by Christina
When effluent from stock trucks is dumped on state
highways, the New Zealand Transport Agency becomes ''a bit of a
victim'', senior network manager for Otago John Jarvis says.
Ten days ago a large spill, presumed to be from a stock
truck, left a visible stain in a wide tarsealed lane beside
State Highway 6 outside the Frankton Golf Course.
Mr Jarvis said ultimately, cleaning the mess was up to the
person who was responsible for the spill, but because such
people were hard to identify, the agency was often left to
clean the state highways.
After seeing a photo of the Frankton incident, Mr Jarvis
said: ''That's quite an extreme case''.
''It's not easy at all to clean up,'' he said, because
pouring water over it then using a ''road broom'' can make
''a bad situation worse''.
He said effluent spills were becoming more frequent in
Central Otago, as more land was irrigated for grazing.
A multi-agency approach was being taken to make farmers more
aware of their responsibilities.
While two more effluent storage tanks are proposed in the
Otago Regional Council's draft annual plan, the answer was
ultimately a ''combination of standing [off green feed
overnight] the stock and taking personal responsibility''.
Road Transport Forum New Zealand chief executive Ken Shirley
said cattle beasts could produce 10 litres of effluent each
an hour, meaning trucks could be laden with nearly half a
tonne of effluent when carrying 45 cattle.
Trucks had a mechanism to release effluent holding tanks, but
this was not in the cab.
Much dairy stock is transported from Southland to Otago at
Mr Shirley said spills ''shouldn't happen [because] there are
meant to be adequate dump sites'' and farmers had the
responsibility to stand their stock, although ''often that
doesn't always happen''.
The Otago Regional Council has seven storage tank sites.
It would cost the NZTA ''a few hundred [dollars]'' to have a
contractor clean Tuesday's spill, Mr Jarvis said.
''It's placed in a terrible spot, right in an urban area. It
appears as though the truck was stationary.''
He said he would ''like to think no-one would deliberately
dump that load right [there]''.
Spills in rural areas were usually left to disintegrate
unless they could become slippery and frosty.
''It's an annoying thing for everyone,'' Mr Jarvis said.