Increase in ECan breaches
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.’’