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Enforcement action against polluters

The Regional Council has taken enforcement action against an individual and a company for separate pollution incidents that had an immediate impact on the Ahuriri Estuary and surrounds.

The first incident, last month, was when a Napier City Council Security Officer witnessed a person emptying their campervan waste into a stormwater drain. The officer’s quick response resulted in Napier City Council staff being able to clean up the discharge before the waste was discharged into the inner harbour. Regional Council officers investigated the incident, interviewed the individual and issued a $750 infringement fine for the discharge.

The other incident occurred late last year. It involved a local company that discharged by-product and yard waste into the stormwater system. This fed to a drain that flowed into the Ahuriri Estuary. The discharge, allegedly, occurred because of an electrical fault that diverted the waste from the trade waste sewer system directly into the stormwater network. After an investigation by the Regional Council Pollution Response team, the company has been prosecuted. A date of hearing has not yet been set.  The offence has a maximum penalty of $600,000 for a discharge of this type from an industrial premise.

Neither incident is believed to have had a direct effect on the recent pond closures but certainly add to the wide number of sources that contribute to the estuary’s water quality.

Regional Council Compliance Manager Wayne Wright says, “With the high level of public use of the Ahuriri Estuary and Pandora Pond, it’s disappointing that we have incidents of this type occurring.”

“Every person and every business needs to think strongly about where our stormwater ultimately ends up,” adds Mr Wright.

“That roadside drain leads to the same waterways that we expect to swim in and to sustain fish life. Tipping any pollutant into a stormwater drain is the same as walking down to Pandora Pond and throwing it straight in there yourself.”

As both incidents are at a pre-court stage, the Regional Council is unable to provide any further details that might identify the parties concerned. This information will be available after the first appearances at Court.

23 March 2018

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