Monitoring environmental impacts of piggeries

Many Queensland piggeries have monitoring requirements contained in their development permit conditions.

The effluent and manure by-products generated in piggeries are valuable sources of water, nutrients and organic matter. Pig-keeping developments are required to re-use these by-products - a practice that is consistent with the internationally accepted integrated waste management hierarchy (i.e. avoidance, recycling, waste to energy, treatment and disposal).

Using these by-products for land application to assist with growing crops or pastures is considered to be recycling, the second-most desirable management option.

Table 1 outlines a typical monitoring regime, which may form part of the development permit requirements for an intensive animal development. It shows a typical analyses required for soil samples collected from the specified depth intervals from representative sites within the waste-use areas.

Table 1. Soil sample analysis
ParameterDepth intervals
Colwell phosphorus (Colwell P)0-10 cm, 50-60 cm, 90-100 cm
Nitrate nitrogen (NO3- - N)0-30 cm, 50-60 cm, 90-100 cm
Exchangeable sodium percentage (ESP)0-30 cm, 50-60 cm, 90-100 cm
Electrical conductivity (EC)0-30 cm, 50-60 cm, 90-100 cm
pH and chloride0-30 cm, 50-60 cm, 90-100 cm

In some instances, surface water, groundwater, manure stockpile and effluent holding pond monitoring may also be required on an annual or event basis.

When undertaking environmental monitoring, it is important to follow sample collection and preparation principles to ensure:

  • representative samples from appropriate locations are collected
  • samples are handled and prepared in a manner that does not contaminate or degrade the quality of the sample
  • samples are analysed within the recommended period of time.

Check your environmental authority (licence or approval) for what your analysis may need to include.