Horizons Regional Council has welcomed the sentencing of PGG Wrightsons and Carrfields Livestock following a significant animal effluent discharge from the Feilding stock yards into the Makino Stream in February 2018.
The prosecution case was heard by the Environment Court in Levin on Monday, where Judge Dwyer imposed fines of $75,000 on Carrfields and $71,250 on PGG Wrightsons.
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The court noted that the offending was reckless, particularly given the stock yards are largest in the southern hemisphere, as well as the significant effort by the Manawatū River Leaders' Forum to improve rivers in the Manawatū catchment.
Horizons strategy and regulation group manager Dr Nic Peet said the council takes its role as an environmental regulator seriously.
"Where appropriate we put significant matters before the court," he said.
Dr Peet said the discharge, initially reported to Horizons' pollution hotline staff by a member of the public, was entering the Makino Stream directly from a stormwater pipe connected to the Feilding stock yards.
"The Court noted that PGG Wrightsons and Carrfields are large companies who had been very careless about how they managed disposal of animal effluent," he said.
"The Judge commented that commercial operators should be aware of their legal responsibilities and manage their business accordingly.
"In particular, he noted significant amenity, environmental, and cultural impacts."
Dr Peet said the council recognised the companies' guilty pleas as a useful acknowledgement of the offending which reduced the time and cost of prosecution.