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Contamination results in fines

Tuesday, 19 April 2011 12:00 p.m.

Significant penalties for polluting waterways in the Bay of Plenty have been issued following two recent court decisions, which resulted in $48,000 worth of fines. 

Bay of Plenty Regional Council has successfully prosecuted two cases where contaminants were discharged into water, with sentencing taking place this week.

CMH Contracting Limited was convicted for discharging contaminants into water and disturbing a stream bed during forestry harvesting. They received a total fine of $30,500. Harvesting took place  at or near a stream with the operation resulting in serious damage to the stream bed. This resulted in significant volumes of sediment entering the stream, contaminating water and destroying the aquatic habitat.  Sediment from the offending also flowed into the nearby Mangorewa River, near Te Puke.

In a separate case, Roy Vercoe, a dairy farm trustee  (delete - manager) , was convicted for discharging dairy effluent into water and was fined $17,500. The effluent discharged from an effluent storage pond through an overflow  pipe which flowed directly into a farm drain.  Effluent was found flowing for approximately one kilometre in the farm's drainage system.

Mr Grogan said that both cases showed a lack of appreciation and responsibility for protecting our waterways.

"These cases stress the need to comply with consent conditions or regional plan rules when carrying out certain activities. If you have any doubt about what you need to do to comply, it is important to seek clarification. Those who carry out activities are held accountable," he said.

Bay of Plenty Regional Council is satisfied with the fines resulting from these two cases.

"But we would prefer not to have to deal with these situations at all," Mr Grogan said.

"We encourage people to be proactive and seek advice before undertaking activities. To protect our environment we need 100 percent compliance, 365 days a year. If you need any advice about an activity you are carrying out, or propose to carry out, contact the Bay of Plenty Regional Council."