Two companies working on the Christchurch rebuild following recent damaging earthquakes have been handed a record penalty for dumping demolition waste.
Canterbury Greenwaste Processors and its director, and farming company Coutts Island Holdings have been ordered to pay a total of over $153,000 in fines by a Christchurch District Court judge.
Canterbury regional council manager Brett Aldridge said traces of asbestos were found among the 5000 cubic metres of waste and, over time, toxins could leak through to ground water and drinking water and harm nearby eco-systems.
The farm property is on land adjacent to the Otukaikino Stream which runs into the Waimakiriri River, an area within the Christchurch groundwater protection zone.
The council says the temptation for those in the demolition and waste industry to save costs and increase profits by inappropriate waste disposal is of great concern in the region's current environment.
Judge Kellar imposed total fines of $153,625 and court costs of $13,569 - a record in Canterbury for this type of offending. Greenwaste Processors and the director were fined about $93,000, while Coutts Island Holdings was fined $60,000.
The regional council is also looking into three other similar illegal dumping cases.