A Waikato demolition company and a Matakana Island dairy farmer were fined a total of more than $70,000 in the Tauranga District Court yesterday on pollution charges in two separate cases brought by Bay of Plenty Regional Council.
Waikato Demolition of Hamilton was fined $29,400 in total, $21,000 for disposing materials other than cleanfill in contravention of the Rotorua District Plan and $8,400 for discharging contaminants to air by burning demolition waste in the open.
Waikato Demolition disposed a number of loads of demolition waste at an unauthorised landfill on Te Manu Road, Rotorua. The waste came from a demolition project at Rotorua Hospital and included treated timber, plastic, polystyrene, carpet and electrical components.
The lessee of the property where the waste was disposed, Raymond Fleming, is to be sentenced in Tauranga District Court in February 2013 for his role in the offending.
In the second case, JAG Farms Limited and its director, John Gardiner of Matakana Island, were fined $41,000 in total, $36,000 for JAG Farms for discharging dairy effluent to land where it may enter water and a $5,000 fine for Mr Gardiner for discharging dairy effluent to land where it may enter water. The charges arose when a Regional Council officer found effluent overflowing from the farm's effluent pond to a drain and then into Hunter's Creek in Tauranga Harbour.
Judge Jeff Smith also imposed enforcement orders requiring the defendants to provide the Regional Council with an effluent management plan for the farm by April 2013, and for Mr Gardiner to complete an effluent management course within 12 months.
Bay of Plenty Regional Council Pollution Prevention Manager Nick Zaman said it was particularly disappointing when demolition contractors whose business was to dispose of waste legally did not act responsibly and make sure landowners had the proper consents.
"Yet again simple steps could have been taken to avoid pollution of a water body. In this case it was the Tauranga Harbour which the Regional Council has and continues to investing significant effort and resource to improving its water quality. Tauranga Harbour is one of the Regional Council's main priority areas of work, and everyone must play their part if we to see real improvements for the Harbour," he said.