Stock transport company fined for effluent discharge
Tuesday, 26 November 2013 11:30 a.m.
A Reporoa livestock transport company was convicted and fined $26,000 for discharging effluent where it could enter water.
Bay of Plenty Regional Council prosecuted Central Transport Ltd for a breach of the Resource Management Act on 14 March this year.
The court heard that the company leased an eight hectare property on State Highway 5 that it used for storing, treating and irrigating effluent from its stock trucks. The trucks were equipped with sumps to store the effluent while on the road, and emptied into a series of three ponds where solids are removed and liquid irrigated to paddocks.
In March 2013 the Regional Council received a complaint from a member of the public that effluent was flowing across State Highway 5 near Waipa Mill Road, about seven kilometres south of Rotorua.
Effluent had been flowing down the driveway of the paddock where the company was irrigating until it reached State Highway 5 and then flowed into a roadside drain and into the nearby Kauaka Stream. The stream feeds into the Puarenga Stream, which has significant cultural and ecological values.
The stream is a regionally significant trout habitat and a well-known bathing site where children dive for coins. It flows into Lake Rotorua. Samples taken from the Kauaka Stream showed high levels of effluent contamination.
The company’s director told the Council that the staff member responsible for checking the irrigator had left before Christmas and had not been replaced.
Regional Council Pollution Prevention Manager Nick Zaman said that previous prosecutions for effluent discharges in the Lake Rotorua catchment had involved dairy farmers, but it was important that other industries that generated effluent were also vigilant about protecting the environment.
“The Kauaka Stream feeds into the Puarenga Stream, which is of great cultural significance to iwi and hapu. The Puarenga Stream then flows into Lake Rotorua. Because of the importance of protecting the Puarenga Stream from both a cultural and ecological point of view, the Regional Council has been working with tangata whenua for more than a year to assess stream health using standard ecological and cultural heath monitoring,” he said.
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