In­crease in ECan breaches

The Timaru Herald - - FRONT PAGE - ELENA MCPHEE

A dozen in­fringe­ment no­tices have been doled out to busi­nesses and in­di­vid­u­als in the Ti­maru Dis­trict for dis­charg­ing pol­lu­tants both to air and water in breach of their re­source con­sents - bring­ing in thou­sand of dol­lars to En­vi­ron­ment Can­ter­bury.

Some of those in­volved in the in­dus­tries say com­pli­ance and un­der­stand­ing of en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pacts has been get­ting bet­ter, but they ac­knowl­edge there is still room for improvement.

A dairy and a ce­ment works were on the list of busi­nesses that were handed in­fringe­ment no­tices in the past fi­nan­cial year, while South Can­ter­bury By-Prod­ucts was also fined $3500 in Fe­bru­ary for the dis­charge of of­fen­sive odour.

A Ti­maru man was also fined $750 for de­posit­ing a ve­hi­cle into a water­way. Juice Prod­ucts New Zealand was fined $2000 in to­tal for dis­charg­ing AC300 ni­tric and phos­phoric con­cen­trated acid into storm-water sys­tems on two oc­ca­sions.

Hol­cim (New Zealand) Ltd Ce­ment was charged $1000 for dis­charg­ing ce­ment into a stormwa­ter sys­tem in July. Meat pro­ces­sor Al­liance Smith­field made an ap­pear­ance on the list, how­ever later this year it cir­cu­lated let­ters to peo­ple liv­ing near its Smith­field Plant, an­nounc­ing a $70,000 scheme to im­prove the plant’s odour cap­ture and waste­water fa­cil­i­ties.

Peo­ple made 17 com­plaints about smells com­ing from the plant be­tween Jan­uary 2016 and Jan­uary 2017. ECan is­sued an abate­ment no­tice and fine in March.

Some of the com­plaints were made dur­ing a pe­riod in which the plant was not op­er­at­ing but the com­pany ac­cepted its op­er­a­tions were ‘‘hav­ing an im­pact’’, plant man­ager Nigel Cuthill said in May. Al­liance was fined $1000.

In to­tal 12 in­fringe­ment no­tices, re­quir­ing the pay­ment of a fee, were is­sued by ECan in the Orar­iTe­muka-Opihi-Pare­ora zone this fi­nan­cial year, com­pared with 10 the pre­vi­ous year. ECan coun­cil­lor Peter Scott said he thought there was more en­vi­ron­men­tal aware­ness around the re­gion, and he hoped the in­fringe­ment and abate­ment no­tices would con­tinue to de­crease.

Wallace Group took over South Can­ter­bury By-Prod­ucts in June. Chief ex­ec­u­tive Graham Sort­land said the group was ‘‘very con­fi­dent’’ of the plant’s abil­ity to com­ply with all the terms of its re­source con­sent, and said it had been up­graded be­fore the merger took place.

The chief ex­ec­u­tive of Juice Prod­ucts could not be reached on Fri­day, and Hol­cim Ce­ment was closed. Dis­charg­ing dairy ef­flu­ent also at­tracted a fine for some Wai­mate busi­nesses, who were in a dif­fer­ent ECan zone.

Del­top Dairy, Ikawai Dairy Farm Ltd and an in­di­vid­ual were each charged $750 for dis­charg­ing ef­flu­ent into wa­ter­ways. Dur­ing 2016/17 there were more than 4000 re­source man­age­ment in­ci­dents across the wider Can­ter­bury re­gion, with more than half of them re­lat­ing to dis­charge into the air.

A to­tal of 49 abate­ment no­tices were is­sued in the OTOP re­gion, for a num­ber of rea­sons. There were two in­stances of air pol­lu­tion, with one of them re­lat­ing to the dis­charge of saw­dust into the air.

For­est and Bird field of­fi­cer Fraser Ross said on Wed­nes­day the improvement in the over­all num­ber of con­sents be­ing ad­hered to was good. How­ever the in­ten­si­fi­ca­tion of farm­ing still needed to be ad­dressed.

It had been a ‘‘very dif­fi­cult’’ year with a lot of rain­fall, Ross said. ‘‘If that improvement is there that’s good, but we still need to make more im­prove­ments.’’

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