The following terms are defined in the Proposed Regional Plan for Northland

Effluent Liquid waste or liquid containing waste solids.
Note: the term is used interchangeably with wastewater.
Farm wastewater

All wastewater from:

  • A farm dairy, dairy yard, feed pad, standoff area, stock yard, sale yard, wintering barn, loafing pad, calf rearing barn, piggery, poultry farm, or any other stock yard, adjacent entrance and exit races, farm transit races when used for standoff, stock underpass or similar.

Also includes: animal effluent, washdown water, pit washings, sediment and other solid matter, milk, milk residue, supplementary feed, molasses, detergents, sterilising agents and other residues associated with routine farming practices.

It does not include horticultural wastewater.

Farm wastewater storage facilities Facilities, including ponds and tanks, for storing or treating farm wastewater, but not including sumps, milk vats, feed storage bins, vats or silos, or storage vessels for cleaning products.
Artificial watercourse A man-made channel constructed in or over land for carrying water and includes an irrigation canal, roadside drains and water tables, water supply race, canal for the supply of water for electricity power generation and farm drainage canals.
It does not include a channel constructed in or along the path of any historical or existing river, stream or natural wetland.

Permitted activities:
The discharge of farm wastewater to land is considered a 'permitted activity', provided the application complies with the criteria stated in rule 16.1 of the water and soil plan and/or C.6.3 of the Proposed Regional Plan.

Non-complying activities:
Any system which may discharge treated effluent to water or does not consistently meet the 'permitted activity' criteria, is considered 'non-complying' and requires resource consent. The applicant must establish that adverse effects will be minor or will not be contrary to the objectives of the relevant plan or proposed plan.

Resource consent:
Consents are issued with specific conditions regarding infrastructure and the operation of each individual dairy farm. The purpose of resource consent is to allow for the discharge of well-treated wastewater when conditions are not suitable for land application, provided the effects on the receiving waters are within prescribed limits.

Prohibited activities:
The discharge of treated farm wastewater to dune lakes and their tributaries, a significant wetland or to other outstanding freshwater body is prohibited.

The discharge of untreated animal effluent to water is also prohibited.

Resource Management Act (1991):
Section 15 (1)(b) of the act states that no person may discharge any contaminant to water or to land in circumstances which may result in that contaminant entering water; unless the discharge is expressly allowed by a national environmental standard, resource consent or regional rule.