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Remediation following Salt Water Creek discharge


July 11, 2008


Payment towards remediation following Salt Water Creek discharge

Carter Holt Harvey has contributed $8000 to Environment Canterbury for environmental enhancement work in the Sefton area after the company pleaded guilty to accidentally discharging a contaminant in Salt Water Creek, North Canterbury last year.

The Resource Management Act case was heard in the Christchurch District Court recently. 

In his ruling, Christchurch District Court Judge Jeff Smith noted that:

a pipe connecting the old Carter Holt Harvey irrigation system across Salt Water Creek had broken due to a build up of vegetation and flooding,
that up to 200 cubic metres of partly treated liquid (from stormwater, medium density fibreboard processing liquid and effluent from the staff facilities) had leaked into the stream,
the break in the pipe was unrelated to operation of Carter Holt Harvey’s Sefton plant or the surrounding farm land,
that the impact to invertebrate and other life in the stream would have been short lived, however,
the company should still have conducted regular checks on the pipe.

Judge Smith ruled that the offence was the first one for the company and its behaviour in fixing the pipe quickly, minimising damage to the creek and taking steps to prevent the problem recurring had been exemplary. This led him to conclude that a discharge without conviction was appropriate in the circumstances.

The money will go towards riparian planting projects enhancing waterways in the Sefton area. The company has also paid $2,643 towards ECan’s investigative costs.

“What is important is that we have a positive outcome from this incident and that there will beneficial effects from the environmental programme,” said Kim Drummond, ECan director regulation. “While Judge Smith has acknowledged that the actual cause was somewhat out of direct control of Carter Holt Harvey, at the same time he has reinforced that the company is responsible for maintaining all facilities so  negative environmental effects can be avoided.” 



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