Farmers do not face any change in the definition of manure as an industrial waste following the introduction of the new Environment Protection Act on July 1, 2021.
Following confusion about manure and animal waste classification as industrial waste, the Environmental Protection Act has clarified that there is effectively no change in the classification.
EPA chief executive Lee Miezis said there was no change to the definition of manure as an industrial waste from the 1970 Act.
"The wording in the 2017 Act is almost identical," he said.
"However, there still appears to be confusion in some areas. Under the new Environment Protection laws farmers will not have to fill out forms, or need a permit, just to use manure as fertiliser, so long as it meets set specifications and poses no risk to the environment."
Farmers don't need to notify, seek approval, receive, or use manures if they meet the specifications and conditions in the determination.
Specifications such as manure not containing plastics or other materials that might cause harm to the land and must be received to deposit to land as a soil amendment or for irrigation.
According to Mr Miezis, the EPA is partnering with peak-bodies VFF and Dairy Australia to roll out training on the laws to reduce confusion.
"Under the new laws industrial waste is considered the lowest risk, with other higher-risk waste types falling under either priority waste or reportable priority waste," he said.
"We want farmers to continue their good management practices in their use of manure on farm, but if there is mismanagement leading to pollution or the legitimate threat of pollution, the legislation does not call for the same penalties to be applied as it would in the case of mismanagement of a reportable priority waste."
"Livestock farmers that produce and sell manure just need to ensure that it is free from contaminants such as plastics, and take reasonable steps to know where it's going. We expect that famers at the receiving end check that the consignment only contains manure before applying it to their land, which is just good practice."
"We consulted extensively with VFF and the farming sector to ensure that there is no new burdensome requirements for Victorian farmers who chose to apply commercial quantities of manure to land.
"EPA recognises manures can be used in a safe way and can be beneficial to agricultural land. While most Victorian farmers manage their livestock's manure or effluent the right way," an EPA spokesman said.
"EPA does come across situations where animal waste from farms is mismanaged and results in harm to waterways and unnecessary odour impacts to townships."
"If farmers are using manure the way they normally do there's no real additional burden."
More information can be found at https://www.epa.vic.gov.au/determinations.
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