Court slams Te Awamutu farm for illegal effluent discharge
A Te Awamutu farming company has with been hit with almost $32,000 in fines for dirty dairying after a helicopter monitoring flyover raised red flags with their operation.
Wyebrook Farms Ltd, owner of a farm in Candy Rd, west of Te Awamutu, has been fined $31,875 and ordered to pay $491 costs following a hearing in the Hamilton District Court. The company pleaded guilty to two Resource Management Act charges.
The prosecution, brought by the Waikato Regional Council, relates to two events at the Wyebrook farm last year in which dairy effluent was illegally discharged.
Following a helicopter monitoring flyover in August, council staff visited the property and found effluent from a holding pond had overflowed at five different spots into a nearby stream.
The stream flows 700 metres to the Waipa River.
Further investigation found a large pile of effluent scrapings had been removed from a bunker and put on a nearby paddock about five months earlier, causing further discharges into the environment.
Judge Melanie Harland said the breaches were moderately serious offending and the overflow into the waterway had been ongoing for several days.
"The overriding concern is the cumulative effect of such discharges to waterways," Judge Harland said.
Commenting afterwards, the regional council's investigation and complaints manager, Patrick Lynch, said despite positive environmental protection work within the farming industry, "We are still finding dairy farms that simply do not place effluent management as a priority".
"Now that there is a code of practice and design standards for effluent systems, there is no excuse for not knowing how to manage effluent appropriately."
Judge Harland said effluent management should be a matter of top priority.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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