Dairy farmer fined for effluent discharge
November 11, 2008
North Canterbury dairy farmer fined for effluent discharge.
A North Canterbury dairy farmer was fined $8500 after discharging dairy effluent onto his property that ended up in the Northbrook Stream. A guilty plea was entered when the case was heard in the Christchurch District Court on September 17, 2008. *
The offence occurred a year ago when the source of an effluent plume in Northbrook Stream was traced to Bruce Robert Fraser’s dairy farm on Northbrook Road near Rangiora. Significant areas of ponded dairy effluent were discovered around a travelling irrigator and along a furrow that drained into a water race on the property. There were also effluent solids on the paddock within five metres of the water race.
Judge Jon Jackson accepted that the discharge had adversely affected the stream and ruled that there was a degree of culpability in that Mr. Fraser had failed to check the irrigator which had been set up by an inexperienced farm worker. Mr. Fraser’s action breached section 15(1) (b) of the Resource Management Act 1991.
The judge said that safe disposal of effluent is part of the operation of a dairy farm. He said that general deterrents were of high importance in environmental cases and sentencing must be at levels significant enough to deter others.
No aggravating features were identified, and credit was given for the guilty plea and Mr. Fraser’s co-operation in the investigation.
Judge Jackson imposed a fine of $8500 and ordered the defendant to pay ECan’s investigation costs of $504. The judge also ordered Mr. Fraser to pay court costs of $130 and solicitors’ costs of $113. 90 per cent of the fine was paid to the regional council.
* The sentencing notes for this case were released this month.