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Published: 2016-03-25 00:00:00

Diesel has stopped discharging from a stormwater pipe into the Whitianga marina, but the risk has not passed, says Waikato Regional Council.

A clean-up operation began at the marina about 12pm yesterday (Thursday, 24 March) after a quantity of hydrocarbon, believed to be diesel, was seen entering the sea from a stormwater pipe.

Regional on-scene commander Dave Lovatt said the council is continuing to closely monitor the situation, as it’s possible further rain may flush more diesel into the sea.

“Our council’s harbourmaster returned to the marina this morning and has removed the sorbent booms, and we believe at this stage the spill has had minimal impact on the environment.

“But while the weather is forecast to improve, there is a possibility of further rain later today and that means any diesel still in the stormwater system could be flushed out,” Mr Lovatt said.

“It’s therefore still important we identify the source of the diesel so we can minimise the risk of it flowing into our stormwater system and into the sea. So we’re renewing our call for Whitianga residents and businesses with diesel storage tanks on their properties to check for possible leaks and to alert us to any issue they might identify.”

People with any information on the possible source of the diesel can contact the council on freephone 0800 800 401.

Intentionally dumping hydrocarbons like diesel or oil into stormwater systems is an offence under the Resource Management Act, with the cost of the clean-up to be paid by the offender, as well as the risk of a prosecution.