A Treated Effluent Farm
In the early 1990s, Narrabri was identified as a major contributor to the algal problems in the Murray/Darling systems because this Shire (along with many other Councils) disposed of its treated waste water (rich in nitrogen and phosphorus) from the Narrabri sewerage plant into the river system.
To eliminate the impact that Council had upon the river system, an 'avante garde' approach to the problem was implemented rather than just a 'quick fix'. The outcome was Federation Farm - a 303ha property located 14km from Narrabri’s sewerage treatment plant.
Expressions of Interest for farm management in a share farm arrangement were advertised. The schools of Narrabri submitted a proposal to take on the farm management and share the profits on a per capita basis. This enables the schools to secure funding without relying on raffles and fetes. The money obtained by the schools goes directly into improvements and since they began managing the farm, thousands of dollars have been distributed to Narrabri schools.
At Federation Farm, treated waste water and bio solids from the sewerage plant is transported and used to irrigate and fertilise growing crops.The farm has been highly acclaimed, receiving a Commendation Award in the National Awards for Innovation in Local Government in 2001, and contributed towards the Council winning the Waste Minimisation Award from the NSW Tidy Towns Committee in 2006 in conjunction with improvements at the Narrabri landfill to protect groundwater from contamination. The farm has also been featured on ABC’s Landline.
Federation Farm is not only a wonderful environmental initiative but it is a great community asset. The farm allows the students of Narrabri to be involved with the agricultural activity which occurs on the farm and gives them the opportunity to propagate trees which are later planted as part of a Landcare strategy.
For further information on Federation Farm, please contact Council's Infrastructure Delivery Department on 02 6799 6866.
Federation Farm is not open to the public, however it may be possible to arrange a tour through the Narrabri Region Visitor Information Centre on 02 6799 6760.