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Huntly quarry fined for stormwater discharge

The Huntly Quarry has been fined a total of $12,500 for illegal stormwater discharges in 2002.

Of the fine, $7,500 has been paid to the Lower Waikato River Enhancement Society and the rest paid as a fine.

Huntly Quarries Ltd and company director Ian Wedding pleaded guilty to nine charges of non-complying stormwater discharges and not guilty to non-compliance with Abatement Notice requirements. Mr Wedding was discharged without conviction.

The Abatement Notices charges were dismissed by the court due to an omission relating to the reasons for issuing the notices. Minor changes have since been made to Environment Waikato’s standard Abatement Notice wording to avoid this deficiency in future.

The Court was in no doubt that the offending had an effect on the Waikato River from a higher level of sediment than normal runoff. The current poor appearance of the lower reaches of the river was due to cumulative effects of many small point sources in the catchment, of which the quarry discharges were one example, together with runoff from urban and rural land.

Aggravating features included the cumulative effect of all the breaches, the significance of the river to Tainui, repeated breaches on nine occasions, gross exceedence of the discharge compliance level and that repeated requests for urgent remedial measures were not fully implemented.

A ‘restorative justice’ conference was held to discuss the offending and possible environmental mitigation as part the penalty. The conference included representatives from Huntly Quarries Ltd, Huntly Community Board, Tainui, Environment Waikato and the Lower Waikato River Enhancement Society. The money paid to the Lower Waikato River Enhancement Society will be used to undertake riparian enhancement near Tainui Bridge.

Forestry and Minerals Programme Manager Grant Blackie said substantial site improvements had been undertaken over the past 12 months to improve stormwater discharge standards to a generally compliant level.

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