Company fined for Oakley Creek spill
A roof maintenance company has been fined $2100 for discharging harmful chemicals into Oakley Creek in December.
The pollution, caused by a moss and mould treatment used by East Tamaki-based Edwards & Hardy AK Ltd, killed native fish along a 200-metre stretch of the waterway.
Auckland Regional Council senior pollution response manager Matthew Harrex says it’s a good reminder to anyone using roof cleaning products to disconnect downpipes and divert runoff to a grassed area.
“People also need to be aware that ‘biodegradable’ on cleaning product labels does not necessarily mean that they are environmentally friendly,” he says.
“Some of these products can still be harmful to the environment if they get into the outside drains which are for rainwater only.”
Mr Harrex says the chemical responsible for killing the fish and other wildlife in the creek was an ammonium compound commonly found in products used for cleaning the outside of buildings.
The creek appears to be recovering now although it will take some years before the aquatic life fully returns.
Friends of Oakley Creek spokeswoman Wendy John says she is pleased the regional council’s investigation into the pollution was successful, but is disappointed by the small fine.
“I don’t think it is much of a deterrent for people to not take responsibility,” she says.
Ms John says more education is needed around stormwater to help raise awareness.
But she’s pleased the company at fault has been working with the council since the incident to review its cleaning practices and procedures.
Workers from Wai Care, Metrowater and Gladstone Primary School were taking part in a routine clean-up when they noticed a chemical foam pouring into the stream from a stormwater drain late last year.
If any pollution is seen in local streams, people should report it to the pollution hotline on 377-3107.