Tuesday, July 25, 2017
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Effluent dumping case decision reserved

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A district court judge has reserved his decision on a case involving an Eastern Bay of Plenty dairy farm that flushed 1600 times the safe drinking level of effluent into the sea in 2016.

Representatives for Kahu Ma Farms appeared in the Tauranga District Court for what was supposed to be their sentencing hearing on Tuesday.

The owners of the Tirohanga farm pleaded guilty to the dumping  which was caused by an unsupervised travelling irrigator left to run 20 metres from a waterway for an unknown length of time.

Water testing revealed significant contamination, with water approximately 1600 times over the safe drinking level for stock animals, reports Fairfax

The maximum level for safe recreational bathing is 550cfu/100mls, while the maximum allowable level of faecal coliforms present before stock drinking water becomes unsafe is 100cfu/100ml. 

The faecal coliform levels in the affected drain on August 15, 2016, were 4.2 million cfu/100mL and 160,000 cfu/100ml in the canal before it reaches the sea.

According to Bay of Plenty Regional prosecutor Victoria Brewer, Kahu Ma farm had a history of complaints regarding effluent discharge including a similar incident with a travelling irrigator, and asked Judge David Kirkpatrick to start the sentencing fine at $60,000.

But Kahu Ma’s defence attorney Lara Burkhardt argued the offending was "careless, not reckless" and pushed to have the fine reduced to a starting point of $35,000 if conviction alone would not suffice as punishment.

Burkhardt says Kahu Ma Farms has since changed their farming practices and invested in new equipment to help ensure future breaches do not occur, with the upgrades to the farm including increasing their effluent storage, plus the installation of a fail-safe device on the travelling irrigator.

Judge Kirkpatrick has decided instead to reserve his decision to review the case in more detail and compare similar cases. 


Comments on SunLive

Our poor lanb

Posted on 10-05-2017 10:40 | By peecee09

It is time for us all to say enough! Our land and waterways can no longer handle the excessive load being placed on them by the dairy industry. It is time for our Government to bite the bullet and act for the good of our beautiful country. They must limit the size of dairy herds to a level that the environment can tolerate, if farmers have to buy in feed because they have more stock than their land can feed ,then they must reduce their herd size.
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