VICTORIAN farmers are being encouraged to remove any debris from water supplies as soon as possible following widespread rainfall across the state.
After a prolonged dry period, water supplies such as farm dams are at risk of debris contamination following a down-pour.
Dams may be contaminated with floating organic matter including straw, grass, leaves and manure. This can cause issues for the water supply if it isn’t managed quickly.
Within a couple of days, debris will sink and begin to break-down causing the water to become putrid and potentially unusable for livestock.
Agriculture Victoria’s Clem Sturmfels said that there are many ways to remove debris from dams, including dragging the material to the bank using a chain mesh boom.
Mr Sturmfels suggests the use of chain mesh, which is commonly used to construct tennis court fences, suspended from a series of floats to create a boom to clear the debris.
“The boom can then be dragged across the dam using ropes attached to each end.
“Once the debris has been dragged to the side of the dam, it can be removed using a small weldmesh cage or with a sieving bucket on an excavator,” he said.
When time permits, sediment traps can be installed to prevent debris from entering dams. There are a number of ways that farmers can establish a sediment trap. Common approaches include attaching wire netting on the upstream side of existing fences where they cross the drainage line (to trap the flood debris), or establishing a temporary netting fence across a drainage line if there is no existing fence structure.
For more information on organic pollution in farm dams visit the Agriculture Victoria Website at http://go.vic.gov.au/jG3ASb or call the DEDJTR Customer Service Centre on 136 186.
Source: Agriculture Victoria.