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Published: 2012-09-21 00:00:00

Waikato Regional Council staff are appalled to have discovered a dairy farmer who appears to have ‘managed’ his farm effluent by deliberately pumping it to a nearby watercourse.

Council staff responded to a complaint from a member of the public in the Waiuku area on 18 September. As a result of this complaint they inspected a farm and found a number of unlawful discharges of effluent into the environment. Of most concern was a pump that had been set up to channel effluent directly into a nearby tributary of the Waikato River.

“Quite frankly, this is appalling,” said the council’s investigations and complaints manager Patrick Lynch.

“We regularly come across discharges that result from negligence or carelessness but deliberate discharges into the environment are rare. I would think that this is very upsetting for the wider dairy industry and all of those farmers who manage their effluent responsibly.

“Clear direction has been given to the farmer to halt these discharges immediately. There is a high likelihood of criminal charges arising from this.”

The discovery came as the council has commenced trialling a new dairy effluent monitoring approach, targeting farms in areas of high risk soils for more in depth inspections.

“This farm was not visited as part of our new inspection regime,” said Mr Lynch.

“But it reinforces the fact that the council will actively pursue any significant non compliance within the Waikato region, however it comes to our attention.”