Fines totaling $1500 and formal warnings have been issued to Environment Waikato councillor John Fisher over breaches of the council’s effluent management rules on two dairy farms owned by him.
EW’s compliance and education manager Rob Dragten said staff had investigated the rule breaches and assessed penalties exactly as they would for any farmer.
"The fines and warnings are appropriate for the nature and scale of the breaches, and completely consistent with enforcement action taken with other farmers in similar circumstances," he said.
Mr Fisher’s two properties were inspected as a result of a helicopter monitoring flight on 28 October this year. Staff followed up what the flight detected with a ground visit two days later.
They assessed there were a total of 11 breaches of the rules on the two farms.
Most of the breaches were considered minor. But, for two more serious breaches, involving the discharge of effluent to land and to a drain on one of the properties, Mr Fisher has been issued infringement notices of $750 each. He has received a formal warning in respect of the other nine breaches.
Mr Fisher is expected to remedy his effluent management systems to ensure such breaches don’t occur again. Mr Dragten said that, as part of standard procedure, his staff would do a follow-up visit next year to check progress and provide any relevant advice on compliance issues.
"In circumstances like this we will work with farmers to make sure they do what is necessary to be compliant with the rules."