Illegal discharge in Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere, farmer fined

Press Release – Environment Canterbury

A Canterbury farm manager who illegally discharged dairy effluent to land on a Springston property in October 2010 has been fined $20,000 and sentenced to 260 hours of community service after mitigation factors were taken into account.January 12, 2012

Farmer fined for illegal discharge into Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere

A Canterbury farm manager who illegally discharged dairy effluent to land on a Springston property in October 2010 has been fined $20,000 and sentenced to 260 hours of community service after mitigation factors were taken into account.

Blair Lloyd knowingly discharged dairy effluent into a waterway that flows into Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere over a period of four days. The court was advised that the discharge would cumulatively compromise the values of Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere and the strategies to improve and rehabilitate the natural character of the Lake.

Mr Lloyd was charged with discharging dairy effluent to land via a travelling irrigator and by means of an open pipe, which he disconnected from the blocked irrigator and placed under trees nearby.

Judge Kellar noted that some 44,360 litres of diluted effluent discharged in the four days before it was found by Environment Canterbury staff.

In sentencing Mr Lloyd, Judge Paul Kellar said that this case was one of the worst of its kind and believed it to be the largest effluent discharge breach ever before a court in Canterbury. He ruled that it was very deliberate offending and the extent of the discharge was likely to cause significant harm to the environment.

Judge Kellar said that had electronic monitoring been available in the area where Mr Lloyd was he would have been sentenced to this.

Judge Kellar said that Mr Lloyd discovered a fault but then continued to knowingly discharge effluent in an area with saturated soils and with ground water springs present. Judge Kellar said Mr Lloyd needed to be held accountable and acknowledge the harm caused to the community, and the sentence needed to deter others from committing a similar offence.

Environment Canterbury Resource Management Director Kim Drummond said the travelling irrigator was found to have been operating in breach of the farm’s consent.

“A travelling irrigator that was running did not have resource consent to discharge effluent to land where it was operating when Environment Canterbury staff visited in 2010.

“It was also discovered that the pipe supplying the irrigator with effluent had been disconnected and was discharging effluent into a grove of trees.

“We hope the sentence handed down by Judge Kellar will act as a deterrent to others and reaffirm the importance of taking all practicable steps to protect the natural environment,” he said.

ENDS

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