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Pet food company fined for contaminating stream

December 6, 2013

Pet food company fined for contaminating stream

Momentary carelessness has cost a pet food processing company more than $6,000, after blood and offal were allowed to enter a drain on Waterloo Road in Christchurch.

Nicks Pet foods Ltd was fined $5,000 and ordered to pay just over $1,000 in costs after pleading guilty to an offence under the Resource Management Act which carries a maximum penalty of $600,000.

The contamination, which was discovered after the Christchurch City Council received an anonymous report of blood in the Hayton Stream, resulted from blood being washed out from drums and entering the drain, and a spill from an uncovered drum containing animal waste being cleared with hose water.

The drain flows into the Hayton Stream and, ultimately, the Heathcote River. In sentencing, Judge P.R. Kellar said there was no indication the discharge had reached as far as the Heathcote but the contamination would have resulted in low oxygen levels in the affected area.

“The spill was not deliberate by any means; it was caused by momentary carelessness and a lack of knowledge about the rules that apply to stormwater discharges.”

Judge Kellar said the company’s sole director, Nick Pacey, was unaware that hosing the yard had been inappropriate and his staff did not appear to be trained sufficiently to deal with the situation.

“This is not an acceptable business practice, especially when one is in the business of generating potentially harmful waste material. These businesses need to familiarise themselves with the rules.”

The judge credited Mr Pacey for entering an early guilty plea and moving his premises to a more suitable site.

“He has asked questions about his responsibilities and now understands the extent of his responsibilities under the Resource Management Act.”

Environment Canterbury’s Resource Management Director, Kim Drummond, said discharges of this type were not catastrophic on their own.

“But if these types of discharges occur with any regularity, the cumulative effect can be significant to our urban waterways.

“This discharge was the result of poor, or non-existent, processes and procedures and a general lack of knowledge of where storm water sumps on hardstand areas lead. This type of incident is easily avoidable. ”

ENDS

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