Effluent (liquid waste and sewage) from dairy farms can impact rivers, creeks and other waterways if we don’t manage it the right way. 

Ways to reduce dairy farms’ impact on the environment include:

  • collecting and reusing all runoff that contains effluent
  • conducting regular audits to find out farm water needs 
  • using recycled water
  • cleaning traps and sumps often 
  • making sure liquids and solids are separate 
  • maintaining stock routes 
  • controlling and reusing manure and runoff
  • storing effluent in ponds during wetter months 
  • adjusting fertiliser rates in paddocks 
  • regularly sampling effluent ponds 
  • creating buffer distances from neighbouring properties. 

Guidelines for managing dairy effluent  

EPA’s Management of dairy effluent 2008 DairyGains Victorian guidelines (PDF 781KB) can help: 

  • manage and reduce dairy farms’ impact on the environment 
  • improve productivity at dairy farms – for example, saving labour and reducing fertiliser costs.  

The guidelines can help farmers, service providers and government agencies understand best practice for managing dairy effluent. They cover:

  • dairy effluent systems 
  • water management and reuse 
  • check processes and record keeping  
  • pond management.  

Find out more about effluent and dairy farms  

Read next

How dairy farm effluent impacts water

Agricultural guidance

How to manage and store liquids

How to manage and store solids

How to prevent water pollution from your business

Wastewater guidance for industry

Water recycling guidance

Stormwater guidance for industry

Reviewed 27 March 2024