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Published: 2006-10-18 00:00:00

A small diesel spill near Awakino this morning is unlikely to have any serious environmental effects.

The spill occurred today after a fuel tanker trailer rolled on SH3 between Mahoenui and Awakino.

Environment Waikato staff members attended the scene following a call from the New Zealand Fire Service at 7.52am.

“Staff on site estimated the tanker trailer contained about 15,000 litres of diesel – but only about 300 litres is believed to have entered the Awakino River,” said Environment Waikato emergency response manager Rob Dragten.

The tanker, which had been leaking slowly through vents on its roof, has now been emptied into another vehicle.

Small patches of diesel are visible in the river and the public may be able to smell it. The diesel is expected to reach the sea later this evening and should evaporate over the next 12-24 hours.

The spill may cause a minor nuisance for whitebait fishers, as the whitebait season is in full swing.

“Whitebait fishers may get small amounts of diesel on their nets, which could taint their catch,” Mr Dragten said.

However, Mr Dragten said there were no sign of any fish kills and he was not expecting any. The spill was unlikely to have caused any serious environmental effects.

“The diesel was initially contained by the fire service using a bund and later with buckets,” Mr Dragten said.

“We congratulate the fire service and the trucking company involved for taking prompt and effective action to minimise the risk to the environment.”