Owner, sharemilker cop effluent discharge fines

Two Waikato farming enterprises have been fined nearly $50,000 for unlawful discharges of dairy effluent on a Waitetuna property, near Raglan.

Judge Kirkpatrick convicted and fined the landowner Acorn Farms Limited and sharemilker A & T Dairies Limited $24,500 each in the Hamilton District Court this week for offences under the Resource Management Act.

The effluent discharges occurred over a two-day period in October 2016.

The Waikato Regional Council brought the prosecution after a complaint from a member of the public.

A subsequent council inspection discovered substantial ponding and overland flow of dairy effluent from an irrigator, some of which made its way to a tributary of the Waitetuna River that flows to Raglan Harbour.

Judge Kirkpatrick said there had been a “very poor relationship” between the landowner and sharemilker.

He said had the two companies worked better together, the discharge could have been substantially mitigated or possibly even avoided.