Effluent dump causing a stink

The unnamed farmer in Te Miro shows a popular patch of Waterworks Road where effluent is often discharged, running straight into the roadside water table (pictured), into a nearby stream and then into the lake. “One guy even drove right along the road and it sprayed it straight into the water table,” he said. Photo – Michael Jeans.

A farmer in Te Miro is hoping to get a message out loud and clear to stock truck drivers: don’t dump effluent on Waterworks Rd. The farmer, who wished to remain unnamed, has reported seeing a number of stock trucks dumping their cattle waste on the rural road for over a year, a particularly concerning sight considering the effluent runs into the small lake at Te Miro Mountain Bike Park – Morrinsville’s drinking water supply.

The farmer said the worst of the situation takes place around May 1 and June 1 (Gypsy Day) – the busiest time of year on the country’s rural roads. During that time the farmer has seen trucks dump their effluent three or four times a day, often leaving a slippery, smelly film of excrement on the road, sometimes two or three kilometres long.

“They shouldn’t dump it anywhere, but if they are to dump it, why do it down this road of all the roads,” the farmer said, concerned for the welfare of the nearby water reservoir. “It’s disgusting, and it’s a massive recreational area, kids swim in that lake in the summer.

“There aren’t enough dumping stations, that is a real problem, but I just want the trucking companies to actually realise, just don’t dump it on that road.”

The farmer said he has confronted the truck drivers, complained to the trucking companies, but the issue continues. “We basically just need the knowledge or signage out there so that truck drivers realise the consequences of dumping on that particular road. Not just because it’s a waterway but also because it’s a lovely recreational area too, and they’re ruining it.”

Members of the Te Miro Mountain Bike Club have also complained about the issue.

Matamata-Piako District Council (MPDC) confirmed there is a public stock effluent dumping facility in Morrinsville, and private ones in Matamata and Te Aroha, and it is working to potentially install another one in the district. “We encourage people to note the company and registration if possible and advise us and the police if they see trucks dumping effluent in areas other than the stock effluent facilities,” said Fiona Vessey, the council’s group manager, service delivery. “We take our water upstream and treat the drinking water. We have advised the Road Transport Association that this practice is not acceptable and they have passed this on to their members.”

Waikato Regional Council (WRC) has also been informed of the issue. Wendy Valois, Communications Advisor for WRC, said the organisation had been working with stakeholders to find a solution. “More recently we’ve been working closely with the NZ Transport Agency to prepare a detailed business case to fund and build more stock truck effluent dumping sites throughout the region… These types of incidents are reported to the regional council on occasion, as an allegation of a breach of the Resource Management Act. We also work with NZ Police, who investigate such incidents as a possible breach of safe loading rules which can incur a $600 fine.”

People who witness such an incident are encouraged to note the details of the truck and to call the WRC on 0800 800 401.

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