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Published: 2012-03-26 00:00:00

Waikato Regional Council is planning to work closely with the Kawhia community on oil spill response arrangements following the recent incident which saw about 100 litres of diesel spilled into the harbour.

An investigation into the spill has so far checked out a variety of potential sources for the diesel but no conclusive source has yet been identified. As inquiries continue, the council is asking anyone in the community with information to call its resource use group on 0800 800 401.

One thing the investigation has identified is that an unspecified number of vessels have been refuelling in Kawhia harbour using a variety of unpermitted methods. The council’s marine oil spill manager Adam Munro said this was clearly a concern.

“The most important part of the permit process is to make sure that people refuelling vessels have the knowledge, systems and equipment to minimise the risk of any spills. And, if an accident should happen, we want people to know what to do as a quick response can help minimise the harm to the environment.

“This would include processes for promptly alerting the regional council, other relevant authorities and the local community. 

“We’d ask anyone refuelling at Kawhia to contact Dave Lovatt on the 0800 800 401 number so we can work with them to ensure things are done correctly in future. We hope this will help ensure no repeat of the recent spill.”

Meanwhile, Mr Munro said the council would continue to liaise with community representatives over current oil spill response arrangements at Kawhia and any changes that may be required.

“We are committed to working closely with local people on the best way forward for reducing the risk of any future oil spills at Kawhia.”