‘Dirty dairying’ attracts $114,000 fine for NZ based Fenwick Farms

Waiuku-based Fenwick Farms has been hit with a record $114,000 fine for deliberately pumping effluent into a stream.

The company pleaded guilty to seven charges of illegally pumping dairy effluent on land and into water between August and September last year, stuff.co.nz reports.

A complaint from a local resident prompted the Waikato Regional Council to visit the property, who then found that an effluent system had been specifically set up to pump directly into a waterway.

An investigation by the council found that large volume of effluent had been directly pumped into the stream on numerous occasions, and that other illegal discharges were also found on the property.

Council investigations manager, Patrick Lynch said that the Fenwick Farms committed the most significant act of deliberate polluting in his eight years on the job.

"Often in an RMA setting you end up dealing with discharges that have happened perhaps through negligence or a want of care, but it's quite rare to find someone who deliberately discharges into the environment," Mr Lynch said.

"The very high fine imposed clearly reflects the seriousness of this case.

"I'd like to think farmers manage their effluent properly for the right reasons but even for no other reason than a purely business and financial reason, farmers surely cannot be affording to pay fines in excess of $100,000."

James Houghton, provincial president of the Federated Farmers Waikato said that Fenwick Farms deliberate polluting was in no way a reflection of the industry as a whole.

"I would say this type of deliberate offending is very rare and we will support the regional council in actively pursuing those farmers that do that," said Houghton.   


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