Danger in dung filled dams

Danger in dung filled dams

News
RUN OFF: Run off carrying organic matter that could pollute farm dams, is a concern where farmland has been left bare by recent fires.

RUN OFF: Run off carrying organic matter that could pollute farm dams, is a concern where farmland has been left bare by recent fires.

Aa

Farm land left bare by recent fires could also cause problems following thunderstorms that fill farm dams with organic matter and dung.

Aa

Flash flooding from thunderstorms across a number of fire-affected areas with potential to pollute dams and waterways is the latest challenge faced by landholders.

Fire-affected farmers were being encouraged to consider long-term strategies to prevent organic pollution entering farm dams.

According to Agriculture Victoria, fire, combined with dry conditions, had left pasture cover at critically low levels, making it easier for dung and other organic materials to blow into dams and putrefy.

Now with thunderstorms forecast for the northern country, north-east and East Gippsland, farmers might need to deal with dam pollution due to flash flooding.

Land Management Extension Officer Brad Costin said long-term management was key and would prevent farmers having to clean out dams multiple times.

"It's important to remove organic material from the water as soon as possible, as it usually saturates and sinks within 48 hours, so skimming the surface of the water is the most effective short-term method," Mr Costin said.

"The palatability of the water can be improved by aeration and or chemical treatment, which may be done simultaneously.

"On smaller catchments other sediment control measures may be an option, such as sediment fences or barriers, so seek advice when deciding how to respond."

Mr Costin said prioritising water storages and allowing for contingencies should dams become unavailable might need to be considered in the short-term.

"The best long-term prevention is to maintain an adequate vegetative cover around the dam or where this is not possible establish protection with netting or corrugated iron or earth banks," he said.

Aa

From the front page

Sponsored by