The milking process on dairy farms produces wastewaters, known as dairy soiled waters (DSW), which contain variable concentrations of nutrients. The most common method of disposal is by application to land. However, this practise can result in the pollution of nearby receiving water bodies. A laboratory study, comprising two sets of 0.5 m, 1 m and 1.5 m-deep filters loaded at two loading rates, examined the performance of woodchip filters in treating DSW. The filters comprised de-barked Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis) woodchips. Dried DSW was reconstituted to 1% and 3% suspended solids (SS) concentrations and was applied at 28 L/m(2).d to the surface of the filters at loading rates of 280 g SS/m(2).d and 840 g SS/m(2).d, respectively. Filters were loaded for a maximum of 277 days. The filters achieved substantial decreases in SS (>99%), chemical oxygen demand (COD) (>97%) and total nitrogen (TN) (>89%). The dominant treatment mechanism appears to be physical filtration, but sorption and biological uptake likely also play a role. As the filters are aerobic, mineralisation and nitrification occur, but gaseous N losses are probably not significant. Woodchip shows potential as a filter medium for treating DSW, significantly decreasing the concentrations of SS, COD and TN. (C) 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.