11 Nov 2014

Heavy fines over effluent disposal

7:08 am on 11 November 2014

A Waikato dairy farmer and a haulage company have been heavily fined for two separate discharges of dairy effluent.

The Waikato Regional Council brought charges against Te Kauwhata farmer Joe Henry MacFarlane and Morrinsville company Orion Haulage Limited. Both were convicted in the Hamilton District Court.

The farmer allowed effluent to flow into a wetland over a period of 19 days in June and July last year.

The council said MacFarlane usually irrigated waste direct to land but when his irrigator broke down and as he had virtually no effluent storage, about 150,000 litres was discharged illegally.

The judge described it as careless and deliberate, and fined him nearly $56,000.

Orion Haulage was fined just over $32,000 for discharging a combination of diary effluent and whey by-products into a stream in October last year.

The court was told that the company's careless approach to managing effluent pond levels allowed it to overflow.

The regional council said the case highlighted the need for effluent systems to be managed at all times.

It said in the case of the farmer, it was very disappointing to find someone who made the conscious decision to dispose of effluent into a wetland for a prolonged period.

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