There were sentencings for two separate waterway contamination offences in the Invercargill District Court today, before Judge Brian Dwyer.
The Invercargill City Council was today fined $30,200 plus solicitor fees and issued with an enforcement order, following a sewage discharge that flowed into the Waihopai River in January 2018.
Environment Southland compliance manager Simon Mapp said the discharge resulted from a blockage which caused sewage to back up and go through constructed overflow and into the City Council stormwater system. The discharge was discovered during a routine maintenance check but was determined to have been occurring for approximately five days prior to discovery, with an estimate of
36 cubic metres of raw sewage discharged into the river.
Once discovered, work was undertaken to clear the blockage and clean the stormwater system and warning signs were erected at all major access points to the Waihopai River.
Mr Mapp said since the incident, compliance staff have been working actively with staff at Invercargill City Council to address the issues which 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, which would bring them into line with other councils around the country in terms of best practice.
“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.”
Also sentenced today on a charge of discharging effluent to water was Keystone Dairies who were fined $32,000 and issued with an enforcement order.
Keystone Dairies were responsible for an incident in July 2018 where effluent was washed into a sludge bed which feeds into a sump. When the sump pump failed, the effluent overflowed into a swale and then into a waterway connected to the Waikaia River.