Monday, July 23, 2012

Dealing with dirty dairying

It looks like the courts are finally losing patience with polluting farmers, with the Environment Courthanding down a record fine of $90,000 for dirty dairying:

The company, White Gold Ltd, had resource consent permitting discharge of dairy effluent on to the land, but members of the public reported effluent flowing into drains that ultimately went into Lake Ellesmere.

Environment Canterbury (ECan) found about 45,000 litres of diluted dairy effluent was discharged during a three-day period in 2010, which resulted in extreme saturation of the land and a nearly 29,000-square-metre effluent pond, including up to 10 centimetres of effluent solids on the ground.

The fine is on top of the $20,000 fine and 260 hours' community service the farm manager received for the same offences late last year.

The indulgent attitude from the courts and local authorities over the past decade clearly hasn't worked, and provided farmers with no incentive to clean up their act. Now they're on notice: stop polluting, or be fined into bankruptcy. Hopefully they'll get the message.