Friday, September 30, 2011

The consequences of dirty dairying

Dirty dairying means big profits for dairy farmers. But for ordinary people, it means something else: stinky water, and higher rates to clean it up:

Hundreds of thousands of dollars have been spent keeping Invercargill water from smelling and tasting putrid during the past two decades, but the problem appears to be getting worse, according to the city water services manager.

Invercargill City Council water services manager Alister Murray said the city had regular problems with a bad smell and taste in its drinking water during summer months since 1995. Between $15,000 and $25,000 was spent each year addressing those problems but it appeared to be getting worse, he said.


Increases in nitrate levels in Southland rivers was believed to be one of the causes, he said.

And the cause of those nitrates? Dairy farm runoff, AKA cowshit and cowpiss. It makes algae grow, which leas to water that smells so bad you can't drink it. If you live in Invercargill, you need to have a water purifier on your household tap, and I've heard stories of people who don't taking containers into their workplaces so they can fill up on filtered water there.

This is just another way farmers dump their costs on the rest of us, and make us pay for their pollution. Isn't it time they cleaned up their act, and started paying their own way?