Large fine for farmer for 'deliberate and prolonged' effluent discharge

A pipe from an effluent storage pond was discharging effluent into a waterway.
A pipe from an effluent storage pond was discharging effluent into a waterway. Photo credit: Supplied

A Waikato farmer has been convicted and fined $57,375 for the unlawful discharge of effluent to a local stream from a storage pond. 

Terry Hazlehurst, of Morrinsville, was sentenced on 4th February in the Hamilton District Court after pleading guilty. 

In a statement, the Waikato Regional Council said it carried out a proactive inspection at Hazlehurst's farm in June 2018 and found a pipe from an effluent storage pond was actively discharging effluent into a waterway that leads to Tauhei Stream.

During the course of the follow-up investigation by the council it was discovered that the discharge had been occurring intermittently for the previous 43 months. 

At sentencing, Judge Melinda Dickey expressed serious concern over the length of time over which the discharge occurred.

Council staff sample water from the illegal discharge pipe.
Council staff sample water from the illegal discharge pipe. Photo credit: Supplied

Judge Dickey described the offending as "deliberate" and demonstrating a "disregard for the effects of the effluent discharge on the environment".

An enforcement order was also issued aimed at immediate improvements to the effluent ponds.

Council investigations manager Patrick Lynch said the case was of particular concern.

"This kind of behaviour needs to change," said Lynch. 

"Obviously it has a detrimental effect on the environment, but it also undermines all of the good work being done by the farming industry and wider community to improve water quality."

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