Tuakau company fined $180,000 for discharging waste into Waikato River

By Te Ao - Māori News

Tuakau Proteins Ltd has been convicted and fined $180,000 for unlawfully discharging waste into the Waikato River which caused a foul odour for months. 

Residents of the Waikato community filed numerous complaints regarding the odour with the Council which they said smelled like  “death mixed with a septic tank” or like “raw sewage” or “rotten eggs”. 

The Waikato rendering plant pleaded guilty to three charges under the Resource Management Act in respect of a series of events from November 2019 through to April 2020. 

Hamilton District Court Judge Melanie Harland described the offending by the company as “reckless and it had a significant and profound effect on the community nearby, in some cases causing people to be physically sick”. 

Council regional compliance manager Patrick Lynch said the message to the company and its Board of Directors, who were present during the sentencing process, was very clear. “If this company intends to keep operating at this site they need to do so lawfully and without an ongoing detrimental effect on the community or environment. 

“There is now a court order in place to offer some degree of protection to this community through the coming summer months,” Mr Lynch said. “The enforcement order is really significant and essentially the most powerful regulatory tool available for us to act on if there are further breaches. 

“We are very hopeful that the significance of this court order is not lost on the company,” he said. 

The company has been prohibited form further discharge wit objectionable odour and a number improvements must be carried out on the site.