Waikato farmers handed $50k fines after residents noticed streams turning green

Two Waikato farmers have been handed large fines for polluting the environment with effluent.

An overflowing and poor quality effluent storage pond on the P Walter Ltd farm near Pukekohe. Source: Supplied

Waikato Regional Council (WRC) said this afternoon that two separate cases had been brought against farming company P Walter Farm Ltd and farmer Allan Crouch.

P Walter Farm Ltd was convicted of illegally discharging effluent into the environment and fined $53,440, while Mr Crouch was convicted of the same and fined $51,750.

The Council conducted inspections on their properties and found effluent irrigators on both farms had been deliberately disconnected, allowing effluent to pond in large volumes.

They were alerted to the cases by members of the public who had been noticing local streams turning green.

WRC investigations manager Patrick Lynch said that while the council understands it's a busy time of year for farmers, effluent management has to be the priority.

"This is frustrating for everyone," Mr Lynch said.

"The rural community and the farming industry expect better from their own.

"The wider farming industry have worked very hard to reduce their environmental impact through riparian fencing and planting, as well as investment in effluent management infrastructure.

"Unfortunately there are still some who continue to let everyone down and continue to pollute.

"We are very grateful to the community members who have contacted us.

"They have seen something that does not look right and called us, enabling us to respond and halt the pollution as quickly as possible."