Dis­charge sparks on­line out­rage

The Timaru Herald - - FRONT PAGE - MATTHEW LITTLEWOOD

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.’’

SUP­PLIED

The dis­charge photo.

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