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Prosecution withdrawn for dairy shed effluent discharge

Published: 31/03/2010 12:48 p.m. 

Environment Canterbury has withdrawn prosecution in favour of environmental mitigation relating to unlawful dairy shed effluent discharges by two Ashburton farming companies.

Environment Canterbury laid charges against the companies, Brook Farms Ltd and Mosbro Farms Ltd, after environmental protection officers visited the property in September 2008.  Officers found a travelling irrigator operating at a slow speed that had caused significant ponding and effluent having entered a nearby soak hole. This action breached the conditions of the discharge permit held by Brook Farms Ltd.

Brook Farms Ltd director, Willy Leferink, immediately admitted liability and accepted that responsibility for compliance with consent conditions rested with the company owners. Freddy ter Bogt, director of Mosbro Farms Ltd, the company operating the dairy farm on the property, also accepted his company’s role in the incident.

Environment Canterbury withdrew charges against the companies after negotiations concluded with an agreement for the companies to undertake and fund a number of projects to mitigate the effects of the effluent.  This includes installation of a state-of-the-art fully automated and alarmed effluent management system and the installation of lysimeters on the property at Acton Road.  The installation of lysimeters will, when combined with farm management information, soil properties and weather databases, provide data that will allow the effects of land use activity on water quality to be assessed and managed.  The companies will further host a field day to highlight these enhancements. Both companies are also contributing towards the Council’s investigation costs and are making a $3500 donation to the Environment Enhancement Fund for stream enhancement work.

Environment Canterbury director regulation, Kim Drummond, said that the companies had acknowledged their liability for the discharge and taken positive actions to address the faults in the effluent disposal system.  The improvements are to be showcased at a field day organised by Mr Lefferink. Mr Drummond said it would increase awareness among farmers over how to prevent effluent discharges.

“The measures agreed between Brook Farms and Mosbro Farms and Environment Canterbury have resulted in major improvements to the Acton Road effluent disposal system significantly reducing the likelihood of future unlawful discharges taking place. This will take the effluent management on the property beyond compliance and into best practice.”

“The field day will support Environment Canterbury’s message that companies and individuals discharging dairy effluent need to take strict precautions at all times so that their actions do not risk contaminating groundwater or breaching resource consents conditions.”   

For further information:  Kim Drummond, Environment Canterbury Director Regulation, 03 372 7232, 027 497 8366.

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