26 Jun 2012

Farmers urged to check effluent gear

2:00 pm on 26 June 2012

Bay of Plenty Regional Council is urging farmers to make sure their irrigation systems are up to scratch following a high-profile breach of effluent discharge rules.

A dairy farm company owned by Fonterra director Colin Armer was fined $72,000 on Monday for allowing animal effluent to pool and contaminate waterways near the town of Maketu in 2010.

Armer Farms North Island Ltd was sentenced in the Tauranga District Court after entering a guilty plea last month.

The breach happened when the farm's irrigation system broke down.

Bay of Plenty Regional Council pollution prevention manager Nick Zaman says the effluent breach which led to the prosecution was avoidable.

"This discharge could easily have been prevented with simple maintenance," says Mr Zaman.

"The split hose in this irrigator had failed a couple of weeks before".

Federated Farmers' dairy chair Willy Leferink says farmers should be fined instantly for effluent breaches, when they allow allow animal effluent to run off farmland into waterways.