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Waimapu Stream polluter fined $35,000

Monday, 12 March 2012 11:30 a.m.

A liquid waste removal company has been fined $35,000 in the District Court at Tauranga after pleading guilty to three offences under the Resource Management Act 1991. 

Bay of Plenty Regional Council's Pollution Prevention Manager, Nick Zaman said the successful prosecution of three charges against Petes Takeaways Limited related to contaminated liquid overflowing from its sewage treatment facility in June 2011. 

"In breach of the resource consent issued in 2005 to Petes Takeaways Limited, liquid waste overflowed from treatment ponds and eventually reached the Waimapu Stream at Oropi," Mr Zaman said. 

"Our inspections of the site revealed heightened levels of faecal coliform contamination in the liquid flowing into the Waimapu Stream."  

In December 2011 Petes Takeaways Limited pleaded guilty to the three offences, and a fine of $35,000 has been imposed by the court at the sentencing hearing today. 

Regional Council prosecuted Petes Takeaways Limited for allowing liquid waste to escape the treatment ponds and flow overland into a waterway on two occasions in June 2011, and for depositing waste onto land where it flowed into a tributary of Waimapu Stream on one occasion.  Both offences occurred following periods of rain.

Mr Zaman said weather conditions were no excuse for polluting public waterways. 

"Petes Takeaways Limited failed to ensure that pond levels were low enough to avoid overflow in the event of rain, and failed to adhere to the conditions of their resource consent by de-watering the bio-solids they were storing on the site," he said. 

"Periods of heavy or persistent rain are not uncommon in the Bay, and this successful prosecution should be a warning to all resource consent holders to adhere to all the conditions of their consent, rain hail or shine."