Timber firm in New Zealand fined for toxin emissions

Near Nelson, New Zealand, a timber laminate firm was fined NZ$270,000 (US$178,000) for setting treated timber alight without resource consent for any discharge to air activity on the property, and polluting the air with toxins, according to Radio New Zealand.

The environment court described the transgression – illegally burning timber treated with copper-chrome-arsenate – by Hunter laminate 2014 Limited on its premises in Richmond as “deliberate and serious.” The charge was brought by Tasman District Council.

The main contaminant was arsenic, a non-threshold, high potency carcinogen that has most likely affected the surrounding areas. According to businesses in Richmond, issues began arising in 2014. Samples of the dust, soot and wood the council took revealed arsenic, chromium and copper, indicating that treated timber was burnt.