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Home > Latest News > Media Releases > Media Releases 2013 > August 2013 > Oil discharges into Sullivan Lake, Whakatane

Oil discharges into Sullivan Lake, Whakatane

Wednesday, 14 August 2013 3:00 p.m.

About 20 litres of oil was discharged into Whakatane’s Sullivan Lake through stormwater pipes over the weekend.

Following a complaint from a concerned lakeside resident on Saturday morning, Bay of Plenty Regional Council Pollution Prevention staff found the oil had entered the lake through the urban stormwater system, possibly originating from a light industrial area to the south of Whakatāne, Regional Council Pollution Prevention Team Leader Steve Pickles said.

“Staff have spent in excess of 20 hours containing and cleaning up the oil using absorbent booms, peat and pads. Add the cost of the gear used with the staff time involved, and it has ended up being a very costly incident for our ratepayers,” he said.

Staff contracted Transpacific to use their sucker truck to remove the contained oil from the lake yesterday. However, there could still be some oil sheen around the lake visible for the next few days, as small amounts are released from vegetation surrounding the lake, Mr Pickles said.

“It is vitally important that industrial sites and residents properly manage and dispose of their hydrocarbon waste to ensure it does not pollute our waterways,” he said.

“This incident is really disappointing, considering the amount of time and resources being spent on improving the water quality of Sullivan’s Lake by the local community”.

He said Regional Council and Whakatane District Council staff have been planning a joint project to inspect high-risk sites in the Whakatane area where discharges could affect water quality. Site inspections are planned in the next couple of months, he said.

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