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“Highly careless” company and director fined for pollution

A Waikato farming company, B & B Singh Limited, and its sole director, Mr Gurnam Singh, were convicted and fined a total of $63,000 for unlawfully discharging farm effluent into the environment at a Morrinsville property in August and September 2018.

The convictions and fines were imposed by Judge Melinda Dickie in the Hamilton District Court. Judge Dickie also issued an enforcement order requiring the farmer to install appropriate effluent infrastructure on the property.

The prosecution was taken by Waikato Regional Council, under the Resource Management Act, following inspections of the farm’s effluent system.

The first inspection on 17 August 2018 found a pipe from the cowshed discharging effluent directly onto the ground. Council officers also found the three effluent holding ponds were full, one of which was overflowing onto adjacent land. Both discharges resulted in ponding of effluent, posing a risk of contaminating groundwater. The officers directed the farmer to stop the discharges.

When the council re-inspected the system on 26 September 2018 the same pond was found to still be overflowing.

In sentencing notes released earlier this month Judge Dickie stated, “It is unacceptable to be aware of the failings in a system and to not take steps to address those failings or mitigate them until they can be addressed.”

In reflecting on the farm’s history and most recent failings, she described the defendant’s actions as “highly careless”.

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