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Tauwhare farmer fined $34,000 over effluent discharges

A Tauwhare farmer has been fined just over $34,000 for illegally discharging dairy effluent.

The case, brought by Waikato Regional Council, concerned two events in January of this year at a farm in Lang Rd, Tauwhare, owned and leased by Bryce Silvester.

Council staff inspected the property following a complaint from a member of the public that the nearby Waitakaruru Stream was “running green with effluent”. During the inspection a large plume of dried effluent solids was found extending from the farm’s holding pond into a spring-fed gully.

A stationary irrigator was also found to have extensively over-applied effluent to a paddock causing ponding and run-off into farm drains that flowed into a tributary of the Waitakaruru Stream.

The subsequent council investigation found that Mr Silvester had left the irrigator operating overnight resulting in about a week’s worth of dairy shed effluent being discharged into the environment.

Mr Silvester pleaded guilty to the two Resource Management Act charges arising from the incidents.

The matters were heard in Hamilton District Court before Judge Melanie Harland who commented that the environmental effect of the discharges was “not good” and that “any time where effluent discharges into a waterway was a matter of concern”.

Mr Silvester was fined a total of $34,200 and ordered to pay costs and fees of $378.

The court considered the appropriate starting point for the fine to be $45,000 which was then reduced on account of an early guilty plea.

 

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