Poo dump­ing plagues Waikato

Piako Post - - FRONT PAGE - KA­T­RINA TANIRAU

A Waikato farmer is wor­ried truck driv­ers are dump­ing stock ef­flu­ent on a road, next to a stream sup­ply­ing drink­ing wa­ter to hun­dreds of peo­ple.

Others are also wor­ried ef­flu­ent dis­carded on roads could hin­der ef­forts to stop My­coplasma bo­v­is­from spread­ing in the re­gion.

Mar­cel Hannon said he had, on mul­ti­ple oc­ca­sions, wit­nessed ef­flu­ent be­ing dumped on Water­works Road, a rural route be­tween Te Miro and Mor­rinsville.

The Tope­hae­hae Stream ran par­al­lel to the road and was where Mor­rinsville’s drink­ing wa­ter sup­ply came from.

‘‘I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t be drink­ing that wa­ter,’’ Hannon said.

He said Water­works Road was of­ten mis­taken as a se­cluded, coun­try road.

Manawaru and Tower roads in the Mata­mata-Pi­ako district had also been reg­u­lar places where ef­flu­ent had been dumped.

Hannon had ap­proached driv­ers he had seen dis­charg­ing ef­flu­ent.

He said the driv­ers had been apolo­getic but some were re­peat offenders.

‘‘One guy I said some­thing to was back in the next few days do­ing the ex­act same thing,’’ he said.

But a spokesper­son from stock trans­porta­tion firm Waitoa Haulage said there weren’t enough ef­flu­ent dump­ing sta­tions, not only in the Mata­mata-Pi­ako district but through­out New Zealand.

‘‘We have been promised more (dump­ing sta­tions) time and time again, but they were never de­liv­ered.’’

Hannon said the ef­flu­ent could also pose a haz­ard for moun­tain bik­ers who used the road reg­u­larly. The pop­u­lar Te Miro moun­tain bike track was nearby.

‘‘This has been an on­go­ing is­sue for a num­ber of years around here,’’ he said.

‘‘They think be­cause it seems like a se­cluded road, no­body no­tices. They think they can dump s---- ev­ery­where and it’s dis­gust­ing.’’

He hoped speak­ing out would pre­vent fur­ther dump­ings.

It was a move sup­ported by the Mata­mata-Pi­ako District Coun­cil, which is­sued a strong warn­ing to any­one de­lib­er­ately dump­ing ef­flu­ent on its roads.

Mayor Jan Barnes said if peo­ple were caught, they would be fined.

Waikato Re­gional Coun­cil’s Stock Truck Ef­flu­ent Pro­gramme spokes­woman Rachel Al­gar pre­sented to the district coun­cil’s Te Manawhenua Fo­rum re­cently.

She said stock truck ef­flu­ent ❚ Do you knowof any other roads in the district where ef­flu­ent is be­ing dumped? ❚ The coun­cil was keen for peo­ple to report trucks dump­ing ef­flu­ent on the road. Peo­ple should note truck­ing com­pany name, num­ber plate and take pho­tos to report it to the coun­cil on 0800 746 467. ❚ Visit our Neigh­bourly.co.nz page to have your say. ❚ Email our re­porter Ka­t­rina Tanirau: ka­t­rina.tanirau@stuff.co.nz dis­charg­ing onto roads was iden­ti­fied as a road safety is­sue over 10 years ago.

Pre­vi­ous work had been un­der­taken to im­prove truck hold­ing tanks and to set up ‘‘in­tran­sit fa­cil­i­ties’’ to dump ef­flu­ent through­out the re­gion.

How­ever, con­tin­ued pub­lic com­plaints, in­creased dis­charge on roads and in­ten­si­fi­ca­tion of the dairy­ing in­dus­try led the re­gional coun­cil to take ac­tion, she said.

A Waikato Re­gional Stock Truck Ef­flu­ent Work­ing Group was es­tab­lished which pub­lished the Re­gional Stock Truck Ef­flu­ent Strat­egy.

It iden­ti­fied the need for stock truck ef­flu­ent disposal fa­cil­i­ties and work be­gan to iden­tify suit­able sites.

A plan was de­vel­oped with the NZ Trans­port Agency and re­gional coun­cil.

It de­tailed 10 new stock truck ef­flu­ent sites.

Fund­ing had been con­firmed to build up to three sites over the next year.

The district coun­cil’s group man­ager service and de­liv­ery, Fiona Vessey, said dump­ing ef­flu­ent on the road was not only il­le­gal, it was danger­ous, poses risks to the en­vi­ron­ment and pub­lic health.

It also could po­ten­tially spread dis­eases to other live­stock.

‘‘When a truck leaks ef­flu­ent on the road it can cre­ate a slimy dis­charge which is a po­ten­tial safety risk for driv­ers and cyclists,’’ she said.

‘‘What’s more it can eat away at the road sur­face cre­at­ing pot­holes so it there­fore costs our ratepay­ers money.’’

SUP­PLIED

This dark line to the right of Water­works Road in the Mata­mata-Pi­ako district shows a fresh dump­ing of stock ef­flu­ent.

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