Environmental Sustainablility
Worm Farm  

Environmental Sustainability - Worm Farm

With 1200 tonnes of manure and 280 cubic metres of grass clippings even composting could create unacceptable levels of methane gas in the bid for ecological sustainability. To avoid this Pinecliff has installed a state of the art worm farm with the same volume as an Olympic Swimming Pool. All waste on the property, animal and human, is disposed of and treated onsite in the Worm Farm and the by-product used as organic fertiliser. The Pinecliff Worm Farm is the largest and most advanced waste treatment facility in the Southern Hemisphere. The worm farm rapidly breaks down matter and produces a by-product (worm castings) that is then used as an organic fertiliser for use in pasture and track maintenance. The two storey worm farm is buried under the ground to ensure the aesthetic of the landscaping is maintained and to maintain a constant temperature, operating like a rainforest floor as it filters water through the organic material stored on the false floor.


All reclaimed grey water including the backwash that comes from the equine swimming pool passes through the worm farm and is sent to the wetlands for further filtration and polishing before reuse.


A unique water veil is created when the two fly proof sliding canopies are opened to allow access for the organic material to be dumped inside. The water veil keeps the worm farm sealed and fly free.

Water Collection  

Environmental Sustainability - Water Collection

In addition to a range of biodiversity measures that have been implemented, virtually all of the water used at Pinecliff is captured and re-used through a complex natural treatment system.


All the water from the worm farm, sewage, equine pool and reclaimed effluent is pumped to the upper wetlands. The upper wetlands are a series of heavily vegetated terraces that use plant density and diversity to suck up high levels of nutrients; this allows Pinecliff to put class C water in at one end and 72 hours later have class A water at the other end. This elevated dam system and wetlands has no natural catchment and shows that such a system can be put in place without reliance on the topography of the property. Because of the bird life supported by the wetlands, the water is also polished through a UV filtration system to eliminate the risk of E.coli as it is recycled for irrigation.


Storm water is captured in a dam and 5 underground concrete retention tanks. The seven megalitre dam that is located at the lower end of the property closer to the sea also has the ability to circulate water from that dam through another specially developed adjacent wetland to improve water quality.


The upper wetlands are juxtaposed against the largest dry stone wall in the Southern Hemisphere. The wall is an architectural statement with its massive scale and organic curved form but is sympathetic to the rugged coastal setting. However, the wall also provides a practical function in providing both a retaining wall and a protective buffer to the wetland area from, what can be savage, sea winds.