Higher effluent disposal level granted

A Southland meat processing company has been granted consent to increase its effluent disposal area despite neighbours' concerns on impacts on stock health.

In a hearing decision released this week, Environment Southland granted an amendment to South Pacific Meat's 2013 resource consent to spread sludge from a wastewater pond onto a sheep farm 4 kilometres south of Garston.

In May the company applied to increase its effluent spreading area from 55.3 hectares to 165ha to reduce the nitrogen loading on the soil to 150 kgN/ha/year.

It also sought to reduce the buffer distance between the effluent spreading zone and neighbouring properties and waterways from 100m to 20m.

Neighbouring property owners Maree Whitely and Peter Sim, of Sim Whitely Farm Partnership, submitted against the application citing health concerns.

They sought a range of amendments be added to the proposal or the application be declined.

The hearing committee found the revised consent conditions adequately avoided or mitigated potential adverse effects from the application.

It said stock-to-stock pathogen transmission was not regarded as a resource management issue so it could not be controlled through this resource consent process.

While the hearing committee accepted the proposed consent did not satisfy all of the submitters' concerns, it found the amendments were enough to ensure any effects were avoided.

The consent was granted to and will expire on February 20, 2018.

The Southland Times