CRS Tauranga Limited - CRS - has been fined a second time in the Tauranga District Court after pleading guilty to further charges of discharging contaminants into Tauranga Harbour.
Twice in June 2020, Bay of Plenty Regional Council officers found sediment-laden storm water discharging from the CRS site in Mount Maunganui to Tauranga Harbour.
In the first instance, the dirty water had ponded on the site, before escaping a silt fence and flowing into the roadside storm water system and into the harbour.
During a follow-up inspection, officers again observed a large area of sediment laden water as it flowed underneath or around a silt-sock bund, and into the storm water system.
Increased sedimentation is a key issue for Tauranga Harbour.
Sediment can have a range of adverse effects on benthic communities and habitats, and on the overall ecological health of the harbour. CRS had previously been fined $86,250 after pleading guilty to similar offences in 2019.
In releasing her decision, Judge Melinda Dickey acknowledged that, since the first prosecution, CRS had made some attempts to address the issues it was having at the site, however these had not been successful and more permanent steps to address them were now underway.
The judge also addressed the effects of the offending on the local marae and iwi.
“They have expressed concerns about industry generally in terms of proximity and effects on them, but also about the impacts of repeated discharges on them and their waterways.”
She says in all the circumstances she determined that the environmental effects of this offending were moderately serious, and while this offending had occurred before sentencing of the earlier charges, she found the company had not responded with sufficient urgency or diligence to the ongoing sediment discharge problems at its site.
Bay of Plenty Regional Council Compliance Manager Alex Miller says the conviction demonstrated the Regional Council’s commitment to holding businesses to account for polluting our regional waterways.
“This case demonstrates the need for swift and suitable corrective actions by businesses to avoid further polluting the environment when a problem is identified," says Alex.
"Businesses need to take responsibility for their actions and if something isn’t right act quickly to ensure they’re taking the appropriate steps to protect the environment.”