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Published: 2002-09-25 00:00:00

Environment Waikato is confident that most of the chemicals which flowed into the Waikato River from Monday night’s chemical truck fire will have passed harmlessly out to sea by tonight.

Water, Air and Waste Programme Manager Chris McLay said that late yesterday the Council surveyed the river for 10 kilometres downstream and found no evidence of any effects on wildlife or fish.

“We’re no longer concerned about harmful effects on the river and we have no evidence of any effects, other than localised small fish kills in the stream where the chemical flowed straight after the fire.

A small amount of pink coloured chemical residue from the fire was still trickling into the river from local drains and streams but this was being carefully monitored and diluting quickly once it reaches the river. Some topsoil which was known to be affected by chemicals was removed and taken for safe landfill disposal, while all the contaminated water was trucked to Auckland for disposal in special chemical treatment.

Environment Waikato would continue to monitor the site for contaminated sediments and effects on stream biology, and was setting up a Technical Investigation Team to assess how long it would take for the damaged streams to recover.