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Banks Peninsula dairy farmer fined for effluent discharge

Published: 17/04/2009 11:55 a.m. 

Banks Peninsula dairy farmer Philip Ross Curry has been fined $5,000 after pleading guilty to a charge of discharging dairy shed solids onto land that may have resulted in contaminants entering nearby Barrys Bay Stream. The case was heard in the Christchurch District Court earlier this year.

During a routine inspection of the farm in December 2007, an Environment Canterbury officer found a large amount of dairy shed solids on the property on land above the stream.

While it was acknowledged that there was no direct discharge of the materials into the stream observed, Judge Jane Borthwick ruled that over time, rainfall would have caused contaminants to enter the waterway and eventually Akaroa Harbour.

The judge accepted that the defendant had spent money improving the effluent disposal system, had advised the regional council of breakdowns in the system and had worked to improve water quality through riparian planting and fencing off stockways. However, Judge Borthwick took into account the defendant’s admission that he had given instructions to sharemilkers to dispose of the materials in this manner and ruled that there was a lack of vigilance in all areas of the dairying operation.

The action breached sections 338(1) (a) and 340 of the Resource Management Act 1991.

Judge Borthwick imposed a fine of $5000 and ordered the defendant to pay ECan’s investigation costs of $700. The judge also ordered Mr Curry to pay court costs of $130. Ninety per cent of the fine was paid to the regional council.

For further information: Kim Drummond, ECan Director Regulation, 03 372 7232, 027 497 8366.

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