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River clear of chemicals following spill

The Waikato River now appears to be clear of chemical contamination following Monday night’s chemical truck fire in Hamilton.

Environment Waikato has received initial results from its first sampling of the river which were taken less than a day after the fire to track any chemical plume, and they show the river is clear at 100 metres, one kilometre and five kilometres from the spill site on Cobham Drive.

No chemicals were detected in any of the river water samples. The truck contained dairy cleaning agents, pesticides, biocides and a large quantity of paint when it burst into flames.

However there is still a concern about residual contamination at the site itself, where the pink dyed chemicals can still be seen seeping into the river and contaminating the surrounding soil Programme Manager Chris McLay says. Once it hit the river it was heavily diluted immediately. Environment Waikato is looking into removing the water and sediment as soon as possible.

Samples have been taken from the site where there was obvious contamination. The results of the testing so far showed the expected aftermath of a large hydrocarbon fire and include xylene, a solvent base, he said.

Yesterday the Council assessed biology of two contaminated streams that flow into the river and it showed there had been a major impact in relatively small areas. Further monitoring of stream recovery will continue.

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