Farmers are being urged to regularly check dairy effluent disposal systems following two prosecutions.

Midhirst dairy farmers John and Alison Vernon were fined $45,000 for illegally discharging contaminants into water. The couple pleaded guilty to one charge each.

Untreated dairy effluent was flowing from an area of ponding into an unnamed tributary of Rum Keg Creek. The discharge arose from a hose that had been disconnected from a travelling irrigator after blockages in the effluent pump.

In a separate case, Kevin and Diane Goble, directors of a Waverley farm on Block Eight Road, Waverley, were fined $54,000 after earlier pleading guilty to two charges of discharging contaminants into water.


The oxidation pond system on the property was found to be non-compliant and dairy effluent from the second pond was flowing 40 metres down a steep bank into the unnamed tributary of the Moumahaki Stream.

"It's disappointing that a small minority of farmers are still not operating to the required standards that the overwhelming majority of farms achieve," Taranaki Regional Council resource management director Fred McLay says. "The court has sent a clear message that those who do not take their environmental responsibilities seriously will be penalised."