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Published: 2017-10-31 08:00:00

A company which operates a composting and quarry facility in Cambridge has been convicted and fined $64,125 for a number of illegal discharges into a stream that flows to the Waikato River.

Remediation (NZ) Limited, trading as Revital Group, was found to be discharging chicken manure and green-waste leachate, as well as sediment, from its facilities on Cambridge Road into the stream.    

Waikato Regional Council prosecuted the company following a complaint from a member of the public, in September last year, who came across a section of the waterway that was brown, foamy and smelt strongly of effluent.

Council staff responding to the complaint tracked the contamination back to the company’s property.  Enquiries at the property revealed that a large, trailer mounted pump had been hired by the company and used to pump approximately 1.6 million litres of leachate from a holding pond into the nearby stream. The leachate contained high levels of e.coli which can affect human health.  

Further investigations by the council revealed that chicken manure had been illegally stored adjacent to the holding pond and was contributing to the contamination.

The site also operates a quarry which was found to be discharging unacceptable levels of sediment into the same stream.  

Convictions and the fine were imposed last week in the Hamilton District Court by Judge Melanie Harland who stated that there were “very poor management practices and understanding about the company’s obligations under its resource consents”.

Judge Harland said evidence suggested the company was “favouring of economic considerations over environmental compliance”.

The judge also noted the need for specific deterrence, given the company had a previous conviction and as it did not appear to have “learnt its lesson”. 

Remediation (NZ) Limited was also convicted for breaching the Resource Management Act in 2010 following a prosecution by the Taranaki Regional Council for breaches of resource consent.  This was considered as part of sentencing.

Our pictures show:

- The contaminant discharging into the stream.

- The holding pond that had been emptied.

- Regional council team member sampling contaminated water course.