A West Coast milk factory has been fined $2250 for breaching discharge limits into the Hokitika River.
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Westland Milk Products was taken over by Chinese company Yili earlier this year after farmers voted 94 per cent in favour of a $558 million offer.

Over the past 15 months, Westland Milk Products has notified the West Coast Regional Council of four cloudy water samples from river testing, one incident where cream was washed into the Hokitika River following a spill from a contractor’s tanker and twice when it took too much water from the river.

Council consents and compliance manager Heather McKay told a council resource management committee resource consent authorised the company to take water from the river and also discharge cooling water and wastewater.

McKay said a formal warning was issued for exceeding their water take from the Hokitika River by a minor amount. Another formal warning was issued for another minor breach.

Two infringement notices were also issued, one for exceeding its consented waste water discharge volume, and another for exceeding compliance limits when samples were taken from wastewater before it was discharged into the river on various dates.

The company is building a new $26m underground pipeline, which will discharge wastewater 800 metres out to sea after March 2021.

Until then it would reduce environmental risks with a hazard reduction plan, Westland Milk Products chief executive Toni Brendish said.

She said the company had engineered preventative measures to ensure stormwater issues, such as the 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, did not happen again.

The ocean outfall project would overcome wastewater capacity issues, Brendish said.

“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,’’ she 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.’’

Construction on the pipeline from the factory to the beach has begun and is due to be completed in December 2020.
Work on the beach-to-sea pipeline would begin in March and be completed by February 2021.

Westland Milk Products was taken over by Chinese company Yili earlier this year after farmers voted 94 per cent in favour of a $558 million offer and the deal was approved by the Overseas Investment Office. Yili is the largest milk processor in China and is 25 per cent owned by the Chinese government.

The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) and U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) today applauded the Biden administration for its initiation of a second U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) dispute panel concerning Canada’s ongoing refusal to meet its USMCA dairy trade obligations.

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