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Published: 2017-03-08 10:45:00

A farmer and a family company have been convicted and fined a total of $65,750 for unlawful discharges of dairy effluent on two Waikato farms.

Ian Douglas Troughton and GT & AB Limited were convicted and sentenced by Judge David Kirkpatrick in the Auckland District Court for offences under the Resource Management Act.  The discharges occurred between December 2015 and March 2016 at farms located at Patetonga and Turua.

The prosecution, brought by Waikato Regional Council, followed a complaint about effluent management practices on one of the farms in December 2015. A council inspection found that effluent had overflowed from a small sump flowing 130 metres across the paddock and into a farm drain that linked to the Piako River.

The farm had previously been inspected in 2012 by the council and Mr Troughton had been advised that the effluent storage was inadequate and at high risk of overflowing.

Council staff inspected another property owned by Mr Troughton in March 2016.  A pipe was found to be discharging dairy effluent from an underpass directly into a paddock where it had formed a large pond. The effluent had also made its way to a farm drain that links to the Waihou River. Council staff gave direction to the farmer to clean up the effluent. However this was not done.

The council’s investigations manager Patrick Lynch said:  “The inadequacy of the effluent management system on the first farm was clearly pointed out to the farmer some years ago but he elected to do nothing about it.

“It is disappointing that we have had to revert to prosecution to, hopefully, bring about positive behavioural change. We trust that the fines imposed here serve as a reminder to all farmers to have adequate storage for their dairy effluent and be vigilant with their management of their systems.”