Hamilton company convicted after illegally taking water

05 July 2016
Hamilton City Council

Hamilton construction company Sam Pemberton Civil Limited has been convicted and fined $1,500 plus costs for illegally taking water from a Hamilton City Council hydrant.

The prosecution is the first of its kind to be brought by Hamilton City Council, and the Council’s Compliance Manager Trent Fowles says it reflects how seriously the Council takes security of the city’s water supply.

“Businesses and individuals illegally taking water from hydrants creates potential serious risks for the city’s drinking water, as well as creating risks for fire fighting if the hydrant is damaged,” says Mr Fowles. “Tanker loads of water being taken from hydrants can cause loss of pressure for nearby homes or businesses.

“Sam Pemberton Civil Limited held a permit for taking water from specific water take points in the city, but had been notified previously that taking water from hydrants was illegal.

“Council has invested in purpose-built, dedicated filling points around the city where businesses can legally take water from with permits, and we have worked with companies in and around the city to educate them about their responsibilities. We have a water supply bylaw to protect our community and we will not hesitate to act if we feel that our city’s supply could be compromised.”

At Hamilton District Court yesterday Sam Pemberton Civil Ltd pleaded guilty to one charge under sections 239 and 242 of the Local Government Act for breaching the Hamilton City Water Supply Bylaw 2013. The charge related to an incident in March of this year, but the company had been contacted by Council in 2014 and 2015 after similar incidents.

In sentencing, Community Magistrate Ngaire Mascelle said the company had been warned previously about taking water illegally. A starting point of $2000 was adopted in relation to the fine, with the fine of $1500 ultimately imposed to reflect the company’s early guilty plea and actions taken to make all staff aware of the water-take requirements. The fine and costs are to be paid to the Council.

Mr Fowles said he was satisfied with the outcome of the prosecution.

“This kind of action is always a last resort, and comes at a significant cost to the Council. However, maintaining the quality and security of our city’s water supply is paramount.”