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Michael Prestidge | Nevada Effluent Management Specialist

Effluent Storage Best Practices

Effluent Storage Best Practices

Maintaining a healthy effluent pond or effluent tank is essential in keeping your effluent system running smoothly, maximising nutrient values, and for council compliance. The good news is, it’s simple and easy to do by implementing a few best practices in your routine…

Emptying The Pond

The effluent pond or tank should be emptied at the end of milking season. This maximises the amount of storage available to take you through calving. A storm water diverter is also recommended. You shouldn’t need to be irrigating during this time, and it will take some pressure off staff.

Emptying your effluent pond annually is important not only for maximising capacity, but also to ensure the nutrients are being used in a timely manner and not degrading in storage. Some councils require proof of annual emptying for consent to be granted.

Note: Don’t completely empty the pond – leave 200-300mm to hold down the lining.

Healthy Effluent Pond
Healthy Effluent Pond

Maintenance

An empty pond is a good opportunity for a visual check to make sure there’s no damage to the lining or obvious leaks. For rubber lining, pay attention to the joins where it has the potential to pull apart.

Keeping on top of weed spraying around the pond, pump and stirrer is also important to prevent seeds from entering and getting spread out to pasture.

Stirring

Keeping the effluent well stirred is essential. The pond/storage should be stirred prior to pumping. With the right set-up this will ensure solids are kept in suspense, and therefore able to be pumped out. Without adequate stirring solids will accumulate at the bottom of the pond and their nutrient value will degrade. This will also impact storage capacity and put additional pressure on your pump.

Spreading

Once the pressure is off from calving, and the ground is ready to take in some nutrients, it’s time to go hard and get spreading. It can be a good idea to spread under maize and other crops as well as out to pasture.

Maximising spreading over November and December can also be a good idea to allow for some time off over the Christmas/New Year period.

Keep a vigilant routine over summer. Not only is this a great way to keep crops and pasture irrigated, but it makes it easy to empty the pond again in Autumn.

Problem Ponds/Tanks

While the above best practices should keep most effluent ponds and storage healthy, for various reasons some need a little extra help. If your effluent pond is still particularly smelly or crusty, adding an organic treatment like PondBugs™ can work to promote biological activity. They are like a multi-vitamin for your pond, helping to digest the organic matter making the effluent more consistent, better for pumping, and providing a faster release of nutrients back into the soil when spread.  

It [The Nevada Tanker] would’ve halved our time that it usually takes to empty our pond.

John Mills, Manawatu

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