Landfills and Offal Pits

Preventing pollution

If you have a landfill or an offal pit on your property, you must ensure that it isn’t polluting the land, water or air.

Farm landfills and offal pits are the main means of waste disposal on Otago farms. Landfills should only be considered along with other methods, such as waste minimisation and recycling.

Farm landfills and offal pits need careful management to prevent water, land or air contamination. A farm landfill may be small, but its effect on the environment can be significant, especially if it’s uncontrolled or unmanaged.

Our farm landfill operation rules are designed to protect the environment. You may have to inform us of the exact location of your landfill or offal pit so that it can be monitored.


Protecting our environment

Poor design, management or maintenance of offal pits or landfills can cause:

  • contamination of soil in surrounding land
  • leachate entering nearby rivers, streams, ponds, wetlands, springs, or lakes
  • contamination of domestic drinking water or water for livestock
  • groundwater seepage
  • visual unsightliness
  • noxious odour


What can I do?

Think about location. ORC rules require that farm landfills and offal pits are located:

  • a minimum of 100m from any wells that supply water for domestic drinking or livestock
  • a minimum of 50m from any waterway, including lakes, streams, rivers, wetlands and groundwater
  • a minimum of 50m from the closest property boundary
  • in an area free from ponding, flooding, or erosion
  • away from any areas used for offal pits within the past five years
  • away from any areas of cultural, historical, or conservation significance



Farm landfills must be:

  • constructed so that leachate does not enter any water body
  • dug into clay soils, if you have them on your property
  • dug to avoid groundwater seeping in

Offal pits must be:

  • constructed so that leachate from the offal pit does not enter any water body
  • dug to avoid groundwater seeping into the pit – if your groundwater table is high, consider using a narrow trench for your offal pit, and mounding the dirt above the ground
  • covered with a concrete slab that is at least 125mm thick, and have an airtight cover plate to keep it safe for children and to discourage pests.




  • Farm landfills must only contain material generated on the property.
  • Do not dispose of any hazardous waste, such as unwanted agrichemicals, batteries, used oil, or treated timber in your farm landfill.
  • Do not dispose of any sewage, animal effluent or offal in your farm landfill.
  • Do not burn any material in your farm landfill – this can create toxic pollutants.
  • The amount of material going to your farm landfill can be reduced by minimising the amount of waste generated on your farm. This could include recycling scrap metal, silage wrap, and empty agrichemical containers, and reusing materials where possible.
  • Record the location of your farm landfills so that future owners can be informed.


Offal pits:

  • Only dispose of dead animals and perishable household waste in your offal pit.
  • To aid decomposition of dead animals, slit the stomach to let the intestines out, and puncture the rumen on the left side to prevent gas build-up.
  • Once your offal pit is filled to within a metre of the surface, backfill it with compacted earth and re-grass or plant a tree over it.
  • Record the location of your offal pits so that future owners can be informed.
  • Try to minimise the amount of waste going to your offal pit. Dead stock can also be composted or collected for rendering.



Plastic waste

Nationwide recycling schemes are in place for triple-rinsed agrichemical containers, drums, silage wrap, silage covers, shrink wrap, feed bags, twine, polypropylene bags, net and irrigation pipes.



Agrichemical disposal

To dispose of unwanted agrichemicals or arrange collection contact Agrecovery – 0800 247 326

Note: Your city or district council may accept chemicals at your local transfer station or landfill


Reporting Pollution

Phone the ORC Pollution Hotline on 0800 800 033, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Phone our environmental services staff on 0800 474 082

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