Bay of Plenty Times

$66k fine af­ter pet food odours

- Sa­man­tha Mo­tion Crime · Mount Maunganui · Tauranga · Hawke's Bay · Napier · Tauranga Airport · Bay of Plenty RU

Mak­ers of a pop­u­lar pet food brand have been fined $66,000 over odours from its Mount Maun­ganui plant that were so pu­trid they left some of those af­fected feel­ing “phys­i­cally ill”.

Ziwi Ltd pre­vi­ously pleaded guilty to a rep­re­sen­ta­tive charge un­der the Re­source Man­age­ment Act of dis­charg­ing a con­tam­i­nant from an in­dus­trial or trade premises into the air on five oc­ca­sions in 2018.

Judge David Kirk­patrick re­leased his re­served de­ci­sion in the En­vi­ron­ment Court at Tau­ranga yes­ter­day.

In his sen­tenc­ing notes, Kirk­patrick said Ziwi op­er­ates a pet food man­u­fac­tur­ing plant in in­dus­tri­ally-zoned Boe­ing Place in Mount Maun­ganui, near Tau­ranga Air­port.

The plant man­u­fac­tures pet food around the clock, turn­ing about 10 tonnes of mostly raw meat prod­ucts into three tonnes of pet food each day.

The other seven tonnes is waste­water that is mostly con­verted to water vapour and dis­charged through ex­haust stacks.

The pro­cess­ing is done in five dri­ers in one large room. At the time of the of­fend­ing be­tween June 12 and Oc­to­ber 18, the doors on the third drier were not com­pletely sealed, which al­lowed “cook­ing odours” to es­cape into the pro­cess­ing room.

The Bay of Plenty Re­gional Coun­cil, which pros­e­cuted Ziwi, re­ceived 224 com­plaints about odour fromthe site be­tween 2008 and 2017.

It is­sued the com­pany an abate­ment no­tice in 2016 over odours, fol­lowed by four in­fringe­ment no­tices the fol­low­ing year and a for­mal warn­ing in 2018.

Ziwi made changes in an at­tempt to ad­dress the prob­lem, in­clud­ing spend­ing about $100,000 on de­odor­is­ing sys­tems, but the com­plaints con­tin­ued in 2018 and the coun­cil laid charges.

Peo­ple work­ing near the site told the court they have “felt phys­i­cally ill as a re­sult of the odour”, the judge said.

In Septem­ber 2020 Ziwi man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Richard Lawrence said the com­pany had in­stalled fur­ther ozone sys­tems at a cost of about $200,000.

The judge said he had been ad­vised Ziwi was re­lo­cat­ing its op­er­a­tions to the Hawke’s Bay.

In court, he asked when Ziwi would be va­cat­ing the site and was told it would be “later in 2022”.

In a pub­lic an­nounce­ment in July, Ziwi said its three Tau­ranga sites would op­er­ate un­til late 2021, when they would close and pro­duc­tion would shift to Napier.

Judge Kirk­patrick con­victed Ziwi of the charge, writ­ing in his de­ci­sion that “be­ing in an in­dus­trial area is not a li­cence to dis­charge offensive odour”.

He said it was not for himto “judge the qual­ity of the odour” or work out how the offensive dis­charges could have been avoided, but ac­cepted Ziwi had­made “gen­uine ef­forts” to con­trol it.

In ad­di­tion to a $66,000 fine, he or­dered Ziwi to pay a so­lic­i­tor’s fee of $133 and court costs of $130.

Most of the fine will be paid to the Bay of Plenty Re­gional Coun­cil with 10 per cent go­ing to the Crown.

Mean­while, a sen­tenc­ing hear­ing was held in the same court over four other Re­source Man­age­ment Act charges Ziwi has ad­mit­ted re­lat­ing to dis­charges of a con­tam­i­nant fromthe same Mount Maun­ganui site into stormwa­ter sys­tems that flow into Tau­ranga Har­bour. The charges re­late to of­fend­ing in April 2018.

Ac­cord­ing to the sum­mary of facts, two charges re­late to an early morn­ing in­ci­dent on April 13 when a Ziwi em­ployee spilt “waste meat prod­uct” on to a con­crete drive­way about 10 me­tres from a stormwa­ter grate.

He scraped, shov­elled and squeegeed up what he could and put it in a grease trap, then hosed down the spill area for about 10min­utes into the stormwa­ter catch­pit.

A “yel­low dis­charge” was later seen com­ing out of an out­let pipe from the Ziwi site.

The coun­cil had pre­vi­ously is­sued Ziwi an abate­ment no­tice over wash down con­tam­i­nants.

On April 19 the re­gional coun­cil was alerted to a “yel­low coloured pol­lu­tant” de­scribed by in­spec­tors as “pun­gent” in an open stormwa­ter drain near the Ziwi site.

Each charge car­ries a max­i­mum fine of up to $600,000. Kirk­patrick re­served his de­ci­sion.

 ??  ?? Ziwi Ltd has been sen­tenced on odour of­fences.
Ziwi Ltd has been sen­tenced on odour of­fences.
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