Court order Invercargill City Council to pay $30k fine over five-day sewage spill

The Invercargill District Court has fined Invercargill City Council $30,200 plus solicitor fees over sewage that flowed into the Waihopai River in January last year.

Invercargill City Council fined $30k and issued an enforcement order over five-day sewage flow into Waihopai River Source: 1 NEWS

Environment Southland compliance manager Simon Mapp said the discharge was caused by a blockage. It caused sewage to back up and go through constructed overflow and into the council’s stormwater system.

Thirty-six cubic metres of sewage were discharged from January 21-26 in 2018. The discharge was discovered at the end of the five days during a routine maintenance check.

The council was issued an enforcement order.

Mr Mapp said compliance staff were working with council staff to address the issues that caused the discharge.

“The enforcement order is the significant part of this court action as it requires Invercargill City to look at upgrades to their constructed overflows,” he said.

“Ensuring all constructed overflows have monitoring systems in place wouldn’t prevent the issue, but would alert staff much earlier and then steps could be taken to prevent contamination making it into the waterway.”

It was one of two sentencings today at the court for two separate waterway contamination offences before Judge Brian Dwyer.

Keystone Dairies was also fined $32,000 over an incident in July last year where effluent was washed into a sludge bed which fed into a sump.

When the sump pump failed, the effluent overflowed into a waterway connected to the Waikaia River.