Proprietors of a Waihau Bay dairy farm have been ordered to pay $45,000 for the unlawful discharge of dairy effluent.
The Orete Incorporation was sentenced in the Whakatane District Court on Wednesday after earlier pleading guilty to the charge that carries a maximum penalty of $600,000.
The offence took place on a farm at Orete Forest Road in Waihau Bay in September 2011.
Orete Inc was fined $45,000 plus costs for allowing effluent waste to flow over land and into the Waiare Stream, which is a tributary of the Tauranga Stream, which flows into Papatea Bay.
The charge followed a call to Bay of Plenty Regional Council’s Pollution Hotline on 26 September, 2011, in which a member of the public reported that the Tauranga Stream was green and smelled of effluent where it flowed into Papatea Bay.
In the second sentencing Eric John Steiner and Michael Eric Steiner faced a possible jail sentence on a Resource Management Act charge relating to the unlawful discharge of dairy effluent at a Galatea farm in October 2011.
They were each fined with Eric fined $25,000 and Michael $15,000.
The maximum penalty for the offence for each defendant is jail for up to two years or a fine of up to $300,000.
The court also imposed enforcement orders which require a fail-safe device and alarm system to be fitted on the farm’s effluent irrigation system and the creation of an Effluent Management Plan for the farm which must be submitted to the Regional Council’s within 60 days.
Michael Steiner was also ordered to complete an Ag ITO Dairy Farm Effluent Management course or similar approved by Regional Council.
The charges related to a routine check by a Bay of Plenty Regional Council pollution prevention officer carried out on October 19, 2011 as part of council’s seasonal compliance monitoring programme.
The farm’s travelling effluent irrigator was found with tyres so flat they had detached from their rims.
The tube of one of the tyres was tangled around the axle, preventing the irrigator from moving along and distributing effluent evenly, which had contributed to the unlawful discharge.
The Steiners had previously admitted the charges in the Tauranga District Court on May 17, 2012.
Members of the public are encouraged to call the Bay of Plenty Regional Council’s 24-7 Pollution Hotline - 0800 884 883 - if they have any environmental concerns.