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Waikato farming companies, employee fined over $200,000 for illegal effluent dumping

Two Waikato farming companies and an employee have been fined nearly $200,000 for illegally dumping animal waste. 

Taupō -based Gardon Ltd, its director Gerard Logan Donald and an effluent spreading company were each sentenced in the Tokoroa District Court recently. 

Animal waste from three dairy farms was repeatedly dumped over a five-month period from November 2019 to March 2020. 

The breaches are a dissappointment not just for regulators and environmentalists, but for the dairy farming industry as a whole, said Waikato Council regional compliance manager Patrick Lynch.

“We look to larger farm operations and professional spreading companies to lead the industry and set examples of best practise," he said. "Clearly, this is not the case here."

Waikato Council inspections on two separate occasions found the company, which ran an 1150-cow farm in Oruanui, was leaking effluent carried out from dairy sheds. 

Gardon Ltd was convicted on two counts of unlawfully discharging contaminant into the environment as well as a further charge of contravening an abatement notice.  

The the company was ordered to pay over $100,000 in fines. 

Council officer noting scale of overflow of effluent from feed pad on a farm at Oruanui, north of Taupō. Source: Supplied

Donald, the company director, was ordered to pay $35,0000. 

Inspections of a second Gardon Ltd farm also found animal waste runoff that was in breach of government regulations.

Donald was charged for illegally dumping that waste as well, resulting in a $28,000 fine. 

At the same farms in 2019, The Effluent Pumping Systems Ltd was tasked with pumping out effluent from one of the farm’s storage ponds. 

The company had overapplied the animal waste to the area, triggering significant runoff of effluent. 

It was charged with unlawfully discharging a contaminant and ordered to pay $30,000.