Case study – Waste management

A Bay of Islands business has been ordered to clean up tonnes of oil-contaminated soil by authorities investigating a spill which polluted a stream that feeds into the river supplying Paihia's drinking water.

Ōpua-based regional council staff responded and boomed-off the area to contain the spill. The Far North District Council was also alerted as the tributary feeds into the Waiaruha River, which in turn feeds in to the Waitangi River, near where the district council draws water for Paihia's town supply.

The regional council arranged for the oil to be removed with special sucker trucks and diggers.

Subsequent inquiries revealed oil appeared to have been discharging for some time from a waste oil storage area at a local business.

Fortunately, at this stage it appears any environmental damage to the tributary will be short-term. The situation with the business owner's property is less clear at this stage and it's likely they will need to remove quite a few tonnes of oil-contaminated soil.

This incident serves as a warning to businesses dealing with waste materials or hazardous compounds to ensure they are properly contained and disposed of.

Waste oil must be disposed of properly and a number of firms in Northland offer free collection and disposal.

Oil spill into a stream.Oil spill into a stream.