Rangiora company, Cresslands Farms Ltd, has been fined $7000 after pleading guilty to discharging dairy shed effluent which may have entered groundwater.

Regional council, Environment Canterbury, prosecuted the company in the Environment Court this week after an inspection showed that effluent sprayed onto saturated ground collected in a hollow before entering a drain, where sampling showed contaminants.

The council said it was worried about the contamination of the surface water leaching through to groundwater.

A Cresslands executive told the court that he had failed to consider the ground conditions and had not realised the paddock was as wet as it was.

Judge Jane Borthwick said at the hearing in the Christchurch District Court that the company's action was a careless error of judgement as it had an alternative means of disposal when its storage ponds were not available or irrigation was not possible.

She ordered the company to pay court costs of $130, and 90 per cent of the $7000 fine was paid to the regional council.

- NZPA