Effluent discharge problems raised

Otago regional councillor Duncan Butcher has spoken out about continuing problems with effluent being discharged from stock trucks in Central Otago.

Cr Butcher, of Cromwell, told a recent meeting of the council's regulatory committee in Dunedin that while driving in Central Otago recently he had repeatedly encountered "disappointing" problems with effluent being discharged from cattle trucks.

On State Highway 6, through the Kawarau Gorge, a mist of effluent had settled on his car windscreen and also had fallen on the highway.

The regional council had earlier helped establish effluent "dumps", including at State Highway 1 on the Taieri, enabling stock trucks to safely discharge effluent from their tanks, Cr Butcher said in an interview.

He had told the committee that several more discharge sites were needed in Central Otago, but earlier approaches by the regional council to the Central Otago District Council and the Queenstown Lakes District Council some years ago, to encourage the establishment of further sites, had not been successful.

The situation was unsatisfactory and could harm the region's tourist image, he said.

Approached for comment, New Zealand Transport Agency southern regional manager planning and investment, Bruce Richards, agreed there was a problem with effluent discharge from cattle trucks in the area. The agency provides subsidies for transport-related infrastructure.

Mr Richards said the agency was often discussing matters with district councils, and he planned to discuss potential new dump sites with the Central Otago and Lakes District councils before September.

The NZTA had already managed to increase the number of truck dump sites in Southland by supporting collaborative arrangements involving joint use of existing facilities in transport firm yards, including at Winton, he said.

Regional council chairman, Stephen Woodhead, agreed with the need for more dump sites in Central Otago.

Mr Woodhead, who is a Milton farmer, also urged greater awareness by farmers and truckers when transferring cows from Southland to Central Otago for wintering over in May and June.

If cows were given straw, but removed from pasture 12 hours before being transferred by truck, the effluent problems would be much reduced, he said.

- john.gibb@odt.co.nz


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