Couple told 'suck it up' over effluent stench

Last updated 09:48 19/05/2014
JOHN HAWKINS/Fairfax NZ

Ex-Tuatapere farmers Val and Helen McKay are fed up with the smell from neighbouring dairy farm and are frustrated Environment Southland won't act.

val mckay, helen mckay
JOHN HAWKINS/ Fairfax NZ
HAD ENOUGH: Tuatapere residents Val and Helen McKay are fed up with the stink from a neighbouring dairy farm.

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A Southland dairy farm on a town boundary is causing a stink with neighbours.

Retired couple Val and Helen McKay have lived at their McVicar St home in Tuatapere for 13 years and about five years ago the sheep farm across the fence changed to dairy.

Being ex-farmers, they had no qualms with the farm, owned by Jenkins Road Dairies Ltd.

And then the wind changed.

Val said whenever the wind blew towards their house, a smell would waft over with it.

The main issue was that Environment Southland had allowed an effluent pond to be located close to the town boundary, he said.

"The simple issue is not the cows, it's the pond. It's not far enough away." The smell was at times so bad they no longer hung washing out or the odour would penetrate the fibres in the fabrics, McKay said.

The couple had approached Environment Southland, he said.

"We were told to get used to it, to suck it up and think of the economic benefit it would bring Southland," he said.

"But what about the economic effect it's had on us?"

The house they bought 13 years ago would have significantly devalued because of the proximity of the effluent pond, he said.

Helen said they were not against dairy farming but she questioned why more research wasn't done into mitigating effluent pond smell.

Environment Southland compliance manager Simon Mapp said there had been two odour complaints in the years the farm had been operational.

Odour complaints were complicated because of difficulties in ascertaining the source, and smells could dissipate before a compliance officer arrived, he said.

The pond in question was located more than a kilometre from the McKays' property.

While he hadn't been directly involved with the McKays' case, he said he would be surprised if they had been told to "suck it up".

"I find it very surprising that someone from Environment Southland would say that. I've asked in my division and certainly no-one had," Mapp said.

Jenkins Road Dairies chairman Graham Craig said he was not aware of any odour issues.

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- The Southland Times

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