System failings lead to dairy effluent prosecution
Thursday, 15 December 2011 10:00 a.m.
An eastern Bay of Plenty dairy farm and its farm manager Paul
Atkinson, 59, of White Pine Bush Road, Whakatane, were
today fined more than $50,000 for allowing effluent to discharge
onto land where it may enter water. The farm's travelling
irrigator stalled, resulting in effluent ponding in a paddock,
which then flowed to a watercourse that enters the Nukuhou River,
which then goes into Ohiwa Harbour.
Glenholme Farms Limited and Mr Atkinson, who is also company director, had previously been found guilty of the charge on Wednesday 9 November in the Tauranga District Court. Appearing for sentencing yesterday (SUBS: 14 December) in the Tauranga District Court, Glenholme Farms was fined $36,000 plus costs and Mr Atkinson fined $17,000 plus costs.
Glenholme Farms and Mr Atkinson also had enforcement orders imposed on them, requiring both a fail-safe device to be fitted to the irrigator and an effluent management plan submitted by February 2012 to Bay of Plenty Regional Council for approval.
The charges are just one of eight dairy effluent prosecutions brought by Bay of Plenty Regional Council this year.
Bay of Plenty Regional Council Pollution Prevention Manager Nick Zaman said the sentence should be a reminder that the Bay community would not tolerate such disregard for the protection of our environment.
"In this case reasonable steps could have been taken to avoid ponding and overland flow of farm effluent to a watercourse and ensuring this does not happen is critical to good farming practices," Mr Zaman said.
"The vast majority of farmers comply with regulations and have a
well-managed effluent system, but the small minority of farmers who
do not take their responsibilities seriously enough need to
understand there will be consequences.
"The 'she'll be right' attitude just isn't going to work with large herd sizes and complex disposal systems. Effluent management must be a higher priority than it currently seems to be for some operators."
For information and advice on farm management visit www.dairynz.co.nz or call your Bay of Plenty Regional Council Resource Consent Advisor on 0800 884 880.