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Hamilton City Council has proposed to undertake stream restoration and planting as part of its fine for the spill from the Pukete Wastewater Treatment Plant last July.
Council appeared today in Court for sentencing following earlier pleading guilty to the spill of 112 cubic metres of partially treated sewage sludge.
The Judge today deferred sentencing until November and was supportive of Council’s request that a restorative justice package be a key part of any penalty for the event.
Stream restoration, planting and fencing in the vicinity of the spill and along the unnamed tributary of the Waikato River, with planting in Pukete Farm Park, the Treatment Park grounds and in nearby horse paddocks has been mooted. The Council, Waikato Regional Council, which laid the charge, and key stakeholders will work to reach agreement on what would be most appropriate.
Commenting, Hamilton City Council Infrastructure General Manager Chris Allen said: “We apologise for this spill, and have a great respect for the Waikato River and understand its significance and importance to the region and its people. We are pleased a restorative justice approach has been supported.
“Protecting the environment is an important part of the work we do as an organisation and we are always looking at ways to improve our processes and practices in this area.
“Immediately following this spill we carried out a thorough and independent investigation. While we were found to have responded well to the spill and subsequent cleanup, a range of improvements were identified and have been implemented.”
These improvements have included:
“We are committed to doing our utmost to ensure there is no future spill at the Plant and I have every confidence that with the changes we have made and the significant upgrade underway that we will be managing the plant in line with international best practice.”