Com­pany fined for Oak­ley Creek spill

Auckland City Harbour News - - News - By Carly Tawhiao

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.

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