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Waikato residents foul over more smelly milk

Booming Waikato milk production has caused more complaints about smelly dairy waste, this time at Waharoa, near Matamata, where Open Country Dairy has been ordered to get odours under control. Waikato Regional Council said it had formally instructed the dairy company to cease the discharge of objectionable odour from its Waharoa site, following around 19 complaints from neighbours since October 22. The complaints come on the heels of council investigation into a big buttermilk lake created last month on a farm at Atiamuri. Te Awamutu residents have also been complaining to the council about offensive dairy waste odours. Council resource use group spokesman David Stagg said Open Country had advised the smell at Waharoa followed accidental discharges of dairy waste to its treatment ponds and that it was tackling the issue with a range of measures. Open Country chief executive Steve Koekemoer said the company acted as soon as it was notified about complaints, and was installing additional aerators in the ponds. It was also looking ahead to find a long term solution to cope with more wastewater capacity. The company had not experienced odour problems at the plant for years, he said. The council said it would consider its next steps once the Waharoa investigation was complete. It has said its investigation into circumstances leading to the Atiamuri buttermilk lake could take many weeks. Industry observers have said it will take months to irrigate all the accumulated dairy waste onto land. The buttermilk was trucked to the site from Fonterra plants, including Te Rapa and Edgecumbe, as the dairy giant grappled with high spring volumes of by product from initial milk processing.

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