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Prosecution withdrawn for bitumen in riverbed

December 10, 2009

Prosecution withdrawn for dumping of bitumen in a river bed.

Environment Canterbury has withdrawn prosecution against Fulton Hogan Limited after the firm agreed to undertake an education awareness campaign for its employees and contractors and contribute towards the council’s investigation costs. The roading company will also make a $1000 donation to an environmental charity of its choosing.

Environment Canterbury laid charges against Fulton Hogan Ltd on January 27, 2009 after its employees were alleged to have discharged a contaminant, recycled bitumen used in roading, onto the bed of the Kahutara River, near Kaikoura. The incident took place on July 21, 2008. Fulton Hogan said that the company recognised it had made an error in dumping the material and immediately began a cleanup operation which was completed that week. The error arose due to the close proximity between the site in question and an authorised clean fill site potentially exposing the riverbed to the dumped material. This action breached the Resource Management Act 1991.

Fulton Hogan will also present a best practice manual to the upcoming Roading Contractors Association annual conference.

Environment Canterbury director regulation Kim Drummond said the agreement represented a positive outcome for the parties involved and the wider community. The follow up actions would achieve more awareness of the need to protect rivers and the environment than had the regional council proceeded with the prosecution.

“Fulton Hogan and Environment Canterbury reached an agreement whereby the defendant took action to clean up the dumped material, to avoid future offending and to deter others from committing a similar offence. The company will engage with employees and other contractors so they are aware of the potential for environmental damage from the inappropriate dumping of contaminants.”

“The clear message this case sends is that companies and individuals seeking to discharge or dispose of material need to work with Environment Canterbury to ensure that their actions will not cause any damage to the environment and establish whether the action is required to be controlled by resource consents.”


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