Costly discharge for Waianakarua farmers

Dairy farming couple Kelly Raymond Campbell and Morgan Lyndsay Johnson and their company Dairy Success Ltd were fined about $30,000 in the Dunedin District Court yesterday for effluent ponding on their Waianakarua farm in December 2011.

Environment Court Judge Jeff Smith yesterday heard the effluent ran into a duck pond on their farm which adjoins Settlement and Bluff Hill roads, Waianakarua, on December 1, 2011.

Judge Smith said an Otago Regional Council enforcement officer on a routine inspection noted effluent from a travelling irrigator flowing down a drain to a "duck pond", with a slight discharge to a drain below.

Campbell was operating the farm in Johnson's absence when the discharge was detected.

While the spill did not enter a natural watercourse, it could have in a heavy weather event when the drain filled up.

No damage was done except to a "man-made" pond, he said.

Travelling irrigators should only be used with constant supervision or when suitable devices were attached so these problems did not occur, Judge Smith said.

Dairy Success Ltd was fined $21,000 and ordered to pay $386.23, photocopying and services $573.10, court costs $132.89, solicitor's fee $113 while Johnson was fined $5500 and ordered to pay court costs $132.89, solicitor's fee $113 and Campbell was fined $3375 and ordered to pay court costs $132.89, solicitor's fee $113.

Judge Smith ordered 90% of each of the fines be paid to the Otago Regional Council.

 

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