Managing and Maintaining Effluent Systems

effluent pump repairs for management for effluent in dairy shed

Properly set to work as a fertiliser, dairy effluent can increase pasture production, so good dairy effluent management is a win for the farm as a business, and for the environment.
The soil acts as a living filter for the effluent, but remember soil can only filter so much effluent at a time. It’s important to match the irrigation depth to the capability of the soil. Land with impeded or artificial drainage, high or rising water tables or slopes of greater than 7 degrees have a higher risk from over-application, and therefore application depths should be adjusted accordingly to reflect soil and weather conditions.
Effluent management systems in place on your farm should give you enough flexibility so that you don’t irrigate when soil is waterlogged (too wet to absorb the effluent). Remember to cover water troughs when irrigating effluent.
Protect waterways on your farm by:

  • not irrigating within 50 metres of a water supply
  • leaving a strip of non-irrigated land next to all watercourses – at least 20 metres wide
  • ensuring that spray drift isn’t getting into nearby streams or rivers.

You can prevent effluent ponds from overflowing by de-sludging, removing vegetation, keeping pumps and pipes in good working order, and irrigating the water component to pasture when the weather is right.
Reptec is available to help with servicing and repairs on irrigation systems and regular pump maintenance should include:

  • Ensuring electrical wiring and switches on pumps are covered and serviced by qualified personnel.
  • Ensuring any pontoons on the pond have adequate buoyancy and are securely fixed to banks.
  • Checking waterproof switches for cracks.
  • Listen to the pump while running for out-of-the-ordinary sounds and vibrations.
  • Checking bearings for excessive noise.
  • Checking bearings for excessive heat.
  • Grease all grease-points every 6 months.
  • Checking belts are tight.
  • Checking all belts or coupling covers are replaced and secured.
  • Checking all pump-securing bolts for corrosion and are tight.
  • Checking pump gland packing for excessive leaking, adjust or replace when needed.
  • Checking mechanical seal for leaking (if applicable).
  • Checking all pipe connections for integrity.
  • Checking area around the electric motor and generator is clean and clear.
  • Checking for wear and tear of belts, pump and motor coupling, impeller, bowl and faceplate.

Some useful links:
Guides and regulations – Waikato Regional Council
Managing and Operating Effluent Systems – Dairy NZ