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Pond construction hits the right note


Monday, 17 October 2011

For immediate release

Pond construction hits the right note

The ‘Institution of Professional Engineers New Zealand (IPENZ) Practice Note 21: Farm Dairy Effluent Pond Design and Construction’ has been has been released for use today.

DairyNZ Project Manager for effluent Dr Theresa Wilson says the information set out in the Practice Note meets a widely recognised need for greater guidance around effluent storage.

“This is the first industry-agreed set of good practice standards around the design and the construction of new effluent storage ponds,” Dr Wilson says. “It should address concerns expressed by IPENZ Members, effluent systems’ specialists and farmers about the environmental risks of poorly designed and constructed ponds.

“Farmers using services from suppliers who follow the pond construction Practice Note should have more confidence in the design, engineering and construction advice and expertise they receive. They’ll make better investment decisions and better storage ponds will be built as a result.”

DairyNZ funded the development of this IPENZ Practice Note, which was written by a team led by IPENZ professional member and Opus International Consultants engineer, Rex Corlett.

“The Practice Note is a technical engineering document. It is designed for engineers and specialist pond design and construction companies,” Mr Corlett says.

“There was a robust consultation with the wider effluent industry in its development.

“It covers the legislation and regulations that apply in this area, the site investigation process, and design, construction and certification and commissioning phases of constructing effluent ponds.”

Federated Farmers Dairy section vice-chairperson Robin Barkler says the Practice Note will be welcomed by farmers who have been after definitive advice on how ponds should be designed and built.

“An effluent pond is a considerable investment – you can pay six figures for one – but it has a great return on investment if built well.

“If you can store your nutrients from the effluent in the pond and apply them where you would normally use fertiliser, you’ll make good savings on your fertiliser bill which can pay off a pond in around five or so years.

“This Practice Note is good for farmers as they will also have confidence in ponds built to these standards at compliance time.”

Theresa Wilson says a new effluent pond is often a project farmers manage themselves around the day-to-day running of their farm.

“It’s an involved process; from sorting engineers and designers, contractors through to arranging finance and training staff in the how it should be managed once commissioned. DairyNZ has written ‘A farmer’s guide to building a new effluent pond’. It complements the Practice Note to help farmers through that management process.”

Effluent pond design and construction events for farmers will take place across the country from November 14.

People who are interested in more information on the pond construction Practice Note can contact DairyNZ and download a copy from or 0800 4 DAIRYNZ (0800 4 324 7969). IPENZ Members will be able to download it from the IPENZ website on


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