Jan 23rd 2020 /
Interim environmental plan implemented at Westland before ocean outfall project commissioned
Westland Milk Products has embarked on a hazard reduction plan to reduce environmental risks before the completion of its ocean outfall project in March 2021.
The company will meet with council environmental compliance officers once a month to review its risk reduction strategy after notifying council of problems over the past 15 months when it exceeded current consent levels to discharge wastewater.
Westland Milk Products CEO Toni Brendish said the ocean outfall project will overcome capacity issues with the current wastewater treatment system used by the Hokitika plant. Treated wastewater is currently discharged into the Hokitika River and has created some infrequent compliance issues for the factory.
Ms Brendish said the company was regularly monitoring the current system of wastewater treatment and notifying council when issues occurred.
“It is only right that we do everything we can to protect the environment we live and work in which is why we will be working closely with council to create a strict monitoring system to lessen the risk of any potential compliance issues,’’ Ms Brendish said.
“The ocean outfall project will create the cleanest way to deal with dairy wastewater and remove any need to discharge treated wastewater into the Hokitika River.’’
Over the past 15 months, Westland has notified the West Coast Regional Council that it had four minor exceedances of turbidity levels and had exceeded current consent levels to discharge to the Hokitika River, an incident where a small amount of cream was washed into the Hokitika River following a minor spill from a contractor’s tanker being filled on the site and two occasions where Westland also exceeded its water allocation from the river.
Ms Brendish said that in accordance with the Resource Management Act, West Coast Regional Council has issued formal warnings and fines of $2250 to Westland for these incidences.
“We are thankful for the council in working with us to help reduce the risks of any potential infringements occurring again before the ocean outfall project comes online,’’ Ms Brendish said.
“We take our responsibilities to our shared environment very seriously which is why we are investing $26 million to overcome the capacity issues and environmental risks posed by the old treatment system.
“It’s taken 10 years of planning to get to this stage with the ocean outfall project but the benefits to the community and the environment will be worth the wait.’’
Ms Brendish said the company had engineered preventative measures to ensure stormwater issues, such as the cream spill which occurred on November 2 last year, do not occur again.
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