Effluent trails on rural South Canterbury roads 'disgusting'

Temuka man Russell Dale was on a bike ride when he discovered effluent dumped along the Waitohi-Pleasant Point Road.
KOREN ALLPRESS/FAIRFAX NZ

Temuka man Russell Dale was on a bike ride when he discovered effluent dumped along the Waitohi-Pleasant Point Road.

A Temuka man is disgusted by "hundreds of litres" of effluent dumped along rural South Canterbury roads.

Russell Dale was cycling on Waitohi-Pleasant Point Rd on Wednesday when he came across a trail of discharged effluent in a grass verge. 

"It was really smelly ... it's disgusting. I don't know why people do that."

The trail stretched for about three kilometres, and Dale believed it had to be "hundreds of litres" of stock effluent.

It was the third trail of its kind he had come across in the previous two months.

"This fresh lot - that's when I thought that's the last straw."

Dale came across a trail of effluent on a grass verge on Seven Sisters Rd about six weeks ago, and a trail on a grass verge on Pleasant Point Rd about eight weeks ago.

Environment Canterbury (ECan) southern zones manger Michael Hide said discharge was on grass verges was "an interesting kind of scenario".

"I'm not sure how it would have happened."

Hide said if the discharge occurred directly onto the road then there could potentially be offences under Land Transport Act as it presented a safety hazard.

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Effluent dumped into a waterway would be dealt with by ECan.

Because he was unable to identify the person responsible, there was little he could do, Hide said.

"If we could identify the party responsible, it may be dealt with through either education and a warning, or they could face enforcement action under the Resource Management Act."

The person or persons responsible could face an infringement fine of $750.

If the case went to prosecution, then the maximum fine could be up to $300,000 for a person and $600,000 for a company, or a term of imprisonment for up to two years, Hide said.

"We could also direct them to undertake actions to address the impacts of the discharge through an abatement notice, or through an application to the environment court for an enforcement order."

Hide said the most likely way to catch someone dumping effluent would be through a member of the public taking note of the registration number of the responsible party and reporting it to the ECan pollution hotline, 0800 76 55 88.

"Where regular dumping was occurring at the same site, a camera could be deployed in the area to gather evidence."

Hide said there was a stock effluent dumping station at Pareora.

 - Stuff

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