A Hawkes Bay dairy company, has been fined $48,750 for illegally discharging 80,000 litres of effluent into a stream which turned it green.
Maxwell Farms Ltd was prosecuted by the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council after breaching the Resource Management Act
The company discharged 80,000 litres of effluent into the Mangatutu Stream, a tributary of the Ttaekur River, on December 23, 2019.
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Following the incident, the ammonia concentration in the downstream samples was about 90 times the guideline value and was likely to have had toxic effects on aquatic organisms over the length of the tributary.
A health warning also went out advising people not to swim in the river for a week.
Regional Council Group Manager Policy and Regulation, Katrina Brunton, said the Hawkes Bay community had sent strong signals to council that it valued clean water.
To uphold these values, we are committed to enforcing the rules to protect the health of our environment and our community. The penalties applied by the court should deter this type of offending.
Brunton said the council was particularly disappointed in this incident.
The Ttaekur holds significant cultural value to local iwi and is used for recreational activities. This incident forced the closure of a popular swimming hole in the river for a week, which meant families were unable to enjoy using it over the summer holiday period.
Brunton said the organic processes that broke down dairy effluent required a lot of oxygen, which could significantly reduce the ability of the water to support aquatic life.
The company was sentenced by Judge Melinda Dickey in the Hastings District Court on Friday.
Hawkes Bay Regional Council said the acting farm manager had not been properly trained in effluent management or using the farms irrigator, which was a breach of their resource consent.

  • If any member of the public has information regarding unauthorised discharges to land, air or water they should contact the Councils 24/7 Pollution Hotline on 0800 108 838.