The Dairying and Clean Streams Accord may have been created with the aim of minimising the negative impact of dairying on New Zealand's waterways, but not surprisingly, the pollution just keeps coming. Last week four Bay of Plenty farmers were prosecuted in Tauranga’s Environment Court for various degrees of contamination to waterways.
Bay of Plenty Regional Council water management group manager Eddie Grogan says these prosecutions showed how some farmers in the region are not making the required checks.
“All four dairy cases were a result of poor management of effluent systems, including ponds and irrigators,” he says.
The two companies and three farmers received significant fines totalling more than $118,000, which reflected the recent increase in penalties available to the Environment Court after an amendment to the Resource Management Act.
“However the real significant shift in direction from the Court was the imposing of enforcement orders requiring each farm to develop contingency plans for effluent disposal,” says Grogan.
He says the penalties reflected the severity of the situation.
“We are pleased that these cases all received enforcement orders and significant fines and hope that this will be a deterrent to others. This is a timely reminder for farmers to check they have all the correct systems in place to manage effluent even on the busiest, wettest days.”
The Regional Council works alongside a number of stakeholders to assist farmers to remain compliant 365 days a year, and several free tools are available.