Wai Car­ers spot spill

Auckland City Harbour News - - News - By Lisa Har­ri­son

A DIS­CHARGE of harm­ful chem­i­cals into Oak­ley Creek has killed hun­dreds of na­tive fish and left lo­cal en­vi­ron­men­tal groups fum­ing.

Work­ers from Wai Care, Metrowa­ter and Glad­stone Pri­mary School were rou­tinely clean­ing up the creek on Mon­day when they no­ticed foamy chem­i­cals pour­ing into the stream from a stormwa­ter drain.

The chem­i­cals spread quickly, killing fish and eels.

The drain where the chem­i­cals spilt from is lo­cated at the back of the Unitec site in Mt Al­bert, but also serves houses and build­ings in the area.

Unitec chief ex­ec­u­tive Rick Ede says while it is work­ing closely with the Auck­land Re­gional Coun­cil to de­ter­mine the ex­act cause of the pol­lu­tion, ini­tial in­quiries sug­gest the con­tam­i­na­tion may have been caused by some roof treat­ment car­ried out by con­trac­tors on one of its build­ings.

“Whether or not this was the ac­tual cause of the pol­lu­tion will not be known un­til the Auck­land Re­gional Coun­cil has com­pleted its com­pre­hen­sive in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the mat­ter,” he says.

Friends of Oak­ley Creek spokes­woman Wendy John says the pol­lu­tion is a dis­as­ter for an­i­mal life in the stream.

“It was avoid­able, to­tally un­ac­cept­able, and should never have hap­pened,” she says.

“It is an ex­am­ple of how frag­ile our nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment is, and how just one act of neg­li­gence can cause so much harm,” Ms John says.

The pol­lu­tion was dis­cov­ered on Mon­day about 10.30am while the group was car­ry­ing out a num­ber of ac­tiv­i­ties, in­clud­ing wa­ter test­ing.

They called the Auck­land Re­gional Coun­cil for help and se­nior pol­lu­tion re­sponse man­ager Matt Harrex in­ves­ti­gated.

He says about 100 me­tres of the stream was af­fected and be­cause there had been heavy rain that morn­ing, the chem­i­cals spread quickly.

Ms John was also at the creek when the pol­lu­tion was dis­cov­ered and says the wa­ter turned into a “death trap” for the fish and eels within sec­onds.

Mr Harrex says the coun­cil is tak­ing the in­ci­dent se­ri­ously and tests to de­ter­mine what chem­i­cals were spilt could take up to 20 days.

Fac­tors in­clud­ing whether the in­ci­dent was an ac­ci­dent, neg­li­gent or de­lib­er­ate will be taken into ac­count and those re­spon­si­ble could face prose­cu­tion. Mr Harrex says the in­ci­dent is a re­minder that only wa­ter should go down stormwa­ter drains.

If any pol­lu­tion is seen in lo­cal streams, peo­ple should re­port it to the Auck­land Re­gional Coun­cil’s pol­lu­tion hot­line on 377-3107. There is still time to grab tick­ets to the Mad Butcher and Sub­ur­ban News­pa­pers Com­mu­nity Trust Christ­mas lunch at Eller­slie on De­cem­ber 12.

The lunch fea­tures Rob He­witt, the diver who was lost at sea for four days and three nights off Kapiti Is­land.

Mr He­witt’s amaz­ing sur­vival story cap­tured world at­ten­tion and trust chair­man Peter Leitch says any­one who hears it will re-ex­am­ine their pri­or­i­ties.

In­di­vid­u­als are be­ing en­cour­aged to come along.

“We hope the cor­po­rates will still buy ta­bles but this year we want lots of peo­ple to buy in­di­vid­ual tick­ets be­cause Rob has to be heard.”

All pro­ceeds go to Kidz First at Mid­dle­more.

The trust has given away more than $1 mil­lion and ev­ery cent goes to good causes.

There are no ad­min­is­tra­tion staff and all trustees are vol­un­teers.

This year’s event in­cludes a raf­fle.

“If we can sell 3000 tick­ets we can hand over an­other $30,000 to the hospi­tal,” Mr Letich says.

First prize is a 42-inch Pana­sonic TV, and there are 20 other draws for prizes in­clud­ing moun­tain bikes and chil­dren’s cy­cles, a Great Bar­rier Is­land ad­ven­ture, Voda­fone War­riors sea­son tick­ets, $100 meat vouch­ers, a Fisher and Paykel A1GP fridge, laser hair re­moval pack­ages and the chance to fly a 747 flight sim­u­la­tor.

Tick­ets can be bought for $10 through any Mad Butcher store and at the Auck­land City Har­bour News at 72 Do­min­ion Rd, Eden Ter­race.

Email shan­dall@mad butcher.co.nz for ticket in­for­ma­tion or call her on 268-2912. Ta­bles of 10 are $1800 plus GST, sin­gle tick­ets are $180 plus GST.

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