A body corporate of a gated community in Hamilton has been ordered to pay $53,550 for dumping sewage into a nearby stream.
The Sanctuary - promoted as a "premium gated community with outstanding facilities" - has been convicted and fined at Hamilton District Court for discharging sewerage wastewater into the Kirikiriroa Stream.
The offence was discovered in March last year and Waikato Regional Council staff discovered the pipe was dumping about 300 litres of wastewater per hour.
Council staff could not determine how long the sewage had been flowing into the stream, but found it was due to a result of systemic faults by the body corporate.
Hamilton District Court Judge Melanie Harland said in her reserved decision that there were "astounding aspects to the case".
She was surprised by "the complete lack of information about the outlet pipe" and that the body corporate was "extremely careless, bordering on reckless" and needed to ensure the wastewater system was properly maintained.
Human effluent was normally regarded as more noxious than dairy effluent, she said.
"Clearly, if a stream that feeds into the Waikato River is contaminated with human sewage, this is an offence to all people."
Council investigations and incident response manager Patrick Lynch said the prosecution was a warning to people are responsible for effluent systems that the system must be fit for purpose and well maintained to ensure there are not harmful discharges into the environment.