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Published: 2011-06-22 00:00:00

Waikato Regional Council staff will on Thursday morning be assessing options for helping clean up an oil spill into the Awakino River.

About 24,000 litres of oil was spilled after a tanker crash in the Awakino Gorge this afternoon between Piopio and Mokau.

“Some of the oil soaked into the ground but it’s believed about 20,000 litres spilled into the river,” said regional council group manager Scott Fowlds.

An initial assessment by council staff tonight confirmed the presence of an oil slick in the river.

Mr Fowlds said staff were assessing options for mobilising in the morning in preparation for containing the oil.

“The amount of oil, while not particularly large, clearly does have potential to harm aquatic and marine life and pollute river and coastal areas.

“It’s not clear at this stage exactly what we will be able to do. Much will depend on weather and tide conditions, and what happens to the oil in the river overnight.”

Mr Fowlds said the council would issue further information in the morning after staff had had a chance to weigh up options in daylight.