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Court Order And Large Fine For Bad Odour

A Waikato rendering plant has been convicted and fined $180,000 for causing objectionable odour over a period of months, significantly impacting on the local community, and unlawfully discharging waste product into the Waikato River.

Tuakau Proteins Ltd pleaded guilty to three charges under the Resource Management Act in respect of a series of events from November 2019 through to April 2020.

In addition to the fine, Hamilton District Court Judge Melanie Harland also imposed an enforcement order on the company prohibiting it from further discharges of objectionable odour and requiring certain improvements to be carried out on site.

The prosecution was taken by Waikato Regional Council following dozens of complaints from Tuakau residents in respect of the odour that was described by some as “death mixed with a septic tank” or like “raw sewage” or “rotten eggs”.

Judge Harland described the offending by the company as “reckless and it had a significant and profound effect on the community nearby, in some cases causing people to be physically sick”.

Council regional compliance manager Patrick Lynch said the message to the company and its Board of Directors, who were present during the sentencing process, was very clear. “If this company intends to keep operating at this site they need to do so lawfully and without an ongoing detrimental effect on the community or environment.

“There is now a court order in place to offer some degree of protection to this community through the coming summer months,” Mr Lynch said. “The enforcement order is really significant and essentially the most powerful regulatory tool available for us to act on if there are further breaches.

“We are very hopeful that the significance of this court order is not lost on the company,” he said.

Reports of environmental pollution can be made to the regional council by calling the 24-hour freephone 0800 800 401.

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