Discharge sparks online outrage
A wastewater discharge into the sea near a meatworks plant south of Timaru has sparked outrage on social media.
A photo of the discharge into the sea near Silver Fern Farms’ (SFF) Pareora plant circulated on Facebook and Twitter on Tuesday.
The photo, which was taken Monday, has been shared on Facebook by more than 1000 people, with many expressing disgust.
Environment Canterbury spokesperson Chris Eccleston said SFF has a resource consent to discharge into the sea, which is regularly monitored and has multiple conditions to ensure compliance.
He said a member of the public called the pollution hotline in January 2018 complaining about the discharge at the outfall, but on investigation, there was found to be no breach of consent. He could not give details as to what was contained in the wastewater discharge.
However, many commenters on social media felt this was not good enough, with posts such as ‘‘Yuk, doesn’t matter who’s doing it. Stop it’’, and ‘‘ Omg this is disgusting. I suggest we all share this and shame them’’.
The photographer, Yvonne Srhoj, told Stuff the sight of the discharge shocked her. She was on holiday from the Auckland area.
‘‘I could not believe what I saw. We pretend that we are a clean, green country, but then we do stuff like this. The land and sea is just getting ruined.’’
‘‘It just infuriates me. We just have got to stop it.’’
She said the response to the photo had been overwhelming.
‘‘It’s appeared all over the place. We need to get angry.’’
SFF spokesman Justin Courtney said the company had a good history of operating within its consent.
‘‘It is a consented process where water from our plant is treated and the majority is then irrigated onto land or, when the land is too wet for irrigation, discharged to sea. We have made good progress on reducing our levels of discharge over the past 10 years and are committed to making further reductions.
Courtney said over the past 10 years it had invested in schemes such as the development of wetlands to manage nutrients from treated wastewater, management of its composting facility, and the investment in 5 centerpivot irrigators.
‘‘Since the pivots have been introduced for land treatment we have progressively moved to this method when soil conditions are suitable. Over 65 per cent of our wastewater has moved to land irrigation.’’
The discharge photo.