Trucking firm fined for tainting waterway

Last updated 11:41 11/02/2014

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A Southland rural transport company has been fined $18,000 for discharging truck wash wastewater on to land where it entered a waterway.

Kapuka Transport Ltd was fined by Judge Craig Thompson in the Environment Court in Invercargill yesterday after it earlier admitted a charge of discharging truck wash wastewater on to land in circumstances where the discharge entered a waterway.

Judge Thompson said that on June 10 last year a council monitoring officer visited the depot for a routine inspection of the company's effluent disposal system.

The officer found the disposal system's pot sprayer had not been used for some time. She found a large quantity of sludge where the effluent pipe to the pot sprayer had become uncoupled or had split, Judge Thompson said.

The wastewater was draining to a small waterway on the company's property. The waterway was a tributary of the Mataura River, he said.

It flowed through a paddock on a neighbouring property, where it mixed with rainwater and ponded.

The company had a discharge permit authorising the discharge of truck wash wastewater on to land at the depot but the conditions of the permit prohibited surface runoff/over-land flow, ponding or contamination of water resulting from the application of the discharge to pasture, the judge said.

No-one had deliberately set out to cause the discharge.

The company immediately co- operated and work needed to avoid similar incidents was carried out, Judge Thompson said.

The company's lawyer, Tim Mackenzie, said it had accepted responsibility and had shown remorse.

The offending was unintentional and had little environmental effect.

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- The Southland Times

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