A farming company has been convicted and fined $78,000 for unlawfully discharging dairy effluent into streams at their Raglan property.
Te Korunui Farms Ltd was sentenced by District Court Judge Melinda Dickey in Hamilton on Thursday for offending against the Resource Management Act in August 2021.
The company has also received a court order to install infrastructure to manage its effluent appropriately.
It comes after a proactive inspection of the farm by Waikato Regional Council compliance staff who found that effluent storage facilities were discharging effluent into two separate tributaries of Te Mata Stream. The subsequent council investigation revealed a lack of storage capacity, infrastructure deficiencies and poor management practices.
In sentencing, Judge Dickey said “effluent management is a critical and fundamental part of farming” and that “a more robust system of effluent management would have ensured this offending did not occur”.
Judge Dickey determined Te Koronui Farms Ltd was “highly careless in its approach to effluent management on the farm”.
The council’s Regional Compliance Manager Patrick Lynch said this case was particularly disappointing.
“It is of real concern that there are still some farming businesses requiring a court order to be made to do the right thing,” Lynch said.
“Effluent management rules have been in place in this region for a quarter of a century. There simply is no excuse for farms to not have appropriate infrastructure and management in place to safeguard against negatively impacting on the environment.”