Wai Carers spot spill
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.