Dairy farm effluent (liquid waste and sewage) can pollute rivers, creeks and other waterways via single sources, such as pipes or drains.  

It can also pollute waterways via multiple sources because of poor land use. These pollutants can wash into waterways after rainfall.  

Pollutants can include: 

  • nutrients from effluent  
  • pesticides 
  • fertilisers 
  • milk from washdown, spillage and waste milk  
  • soil washed into streams in rainfall run-off.  

These can be sources of ground and surface water pollution.

If stock have access to waterways, they can also pollute the water and speed up erosion.  

Polluted waterways are a risk to:

  • people’s health 
  • aquatic life 
  • ground species that rely on waterways.  

Dairy farms, EPA and the law  

We work to protect the quality of Victoria’s surface and ground water. We do this through the State Environment Protection Policy (Waters). This is part of the Environment Protection Act 1970

EPA regulates dairy farms’ risk to human health and the environment through: 

We also give guidance to help dairy farms comply with environmental law.

Read more

How to manage effluent on dairy farms

Reviewed 3 December 2021