18 Mar 2009

Penalties imposed for effluent discharges

6:31 am on 18 March 2009

Penalties totalling more than $15,000 have been imposed on a dairy farmer and a dairy farming company in Canterbury after they breached effluent discharge conditions.

A Canterbury-based dairy company, Corlette Holdings Limited, was fined $10,000 after a farm inspection last year found a broken irrigator had caused effluent to pond causing run-off.

A second charge related to the fact that it may have contaminated water.

The instances also contravened an abatement notice that the Canterbury Regional Council issued in January 2006, which was still in effect.

In the second case: a Banks Peninsula farmer, Philip Ross Curry, was fined $5000 after pleading guilty to a charge of discharging dairy shed solids onto land that may have resulted in contaminants entering a nearby stream.

Judge Jane Borthwick acknowledged that there was no direct discharge of the materials into the stream observed.

However, she noted that rainfall would have caused contaminants to enter the waterway over time.

A report by the Ministry of Agriculture last week showed that the Clean Streams Accord is not making any real headway in lowering significant breaches of dairy effluent discharge conditions.

The accord is a voluntary agreement between Fonterra, the Government and regional councils. It was signed six years ago.

Fonterra is to introduce a financial penalty system for farmers who breach these conditions, from the 2010 season.