Thursday, December 7, 2023

Piggery ordered to stop polluting waterway

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Landowners warned that ‘significant discharge’ of effluent has entered Waikato stream.
Landowners warned that ‘significant discharge’ of effluent has entered Waikato stream.
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Waikato Regional Council has been granted an interim enforcement order by the Environment Court to stop piggery effluent entering a waterway north of Te Aroha.

It’s the first time the council has applied for such an order.

The application was granted on August 4 by Judge Melinda Dickey in response to alleged ongoing, uncontrolled and unauthorised discharges to both land and water.

Video footage of the effluent tank overflowing at a Waikato-based piggery on August 2. Video: Waikato Regional Council

The order requires the piggery company to cease discharging a contaminant onto land in circumstances that may result in it entering water.

To comply with the order, the company will be required to explore options of reducing stock numbers or otherwise reduce the level of effluent currently stored, and explore lawful options for relocating pig effluent offsite.

Since seeking the order, also on August 4, Waikato Regional Council has responded to a further significant discharge of effluent reported on August 7.

Landowners have been warned that piggery effluent has entered the Patuwhao Stream, which flows into the Waihou River.

“There will be faecal bacteria, ammonia and high nutrients from the piggery effluent in the water, so we’re urging landowners taking surface water downstream from this site to exercise caution until the risk has passed,” Patrick Lynch, the council’s regional compliance manager, said.

“Applying to the Environment Court for an interim enforcement order is unprecedented in this region, but we view the ongoing discharges at this site to be an emergency. They are having an extreme impact on the environment and community, which we feel necessitates such action under the Resource Management Act,” Lynch said.    

“This latest incident will form part of an active investigation by the council, and as such we’re unable to provide any further information at this time.”

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