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Fewer pollution complaints to council

Environment Waikato received fewer pollution complaints in the last year, with the largest drop in air pollution complaints.

This week’s Regulatory Committee meeting heard 869 incidents were reported last year, 242 fewer than the previous year. Of these, 48 percent were complaints about discharges to air. A total of 622 air pollution incidents were reported the previous year, compared with 413 last year.

There were 128 fewer odour complaints, almost all from a dramatic drop in the number of calls received about one industry, which the Environment Court had dealt with following complaints from neighbours during the year.

Odour complaints about industrial activities, chicken farms and other sources also dropped along with spray drift, dust and burning.

Incidents of discharges onto land dropped from 143 to 124 last year and the number of incidents of discharges into the coastal marine area also dropped from 55 to 37. The Council expects that the number of incidents will increase over the next few years with the taking on of the navigational safety role.

Incidents included sand and gravel being taken from beaches, clay, tyres and domestic waste dumped on the foreshore and erection of structures without a consent.

The number of discharges into rivers and lakes dropped from 84 to 61, with several relating to machinery excavating riverbeds. These activities could have a significant effect on waterways, and it appeared works were done without consents because people were not aware of legal requirements of were reluctant to go through the process.

However incidents of discharges to water increased from 207 to 236, mainly because of an increase in dairy effluent discharges. Last year 23 stormwater and 19 sewage incidents were reported.

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