30 June 2020

A training exercise simulating a chemical spill in Rotorua’s Utuhina Stream has allowed Bay of Plenty Regional Council’s incident response team and staff from McAlpines Rotorua Limited to test their skills and ensure everyone is equipped to protect the environment.

The training exercise in Rotorua simulated a corrosive liquid spill from a delivery tanker with the imminent risk of chemicals entering the stormwater drain which flows to the Utuhina Stream.

McAlpines staff raced against the clock to ensure the spill was contained as quickly as possible, activating recovery pumps and site alarms, notifying the Pollution Hotline and site manager, blocking the drains, and diluting the fake chemicals. Regulatory Compliance officers were called in to assess the environmental impacts, investigate the incident and how it was handled, then lead a debriefing session.

Regional Council Urban, Industry & Response Team Leader Chris Brewer said, by partnering with a local manufacturing business both teams were able to practice their emergency response, health and safety and best practice approaches in context of a potentially polluting incident.

“It was also a great opportunity for newer members of the Regulatory Compliance team to put their incident response and investigative skills into practice. We’re really pleased with how the training went and look forward to working with other businesses as opportunities arise” Mr Brewer said.

“The Regional Council’s Pollution Hotline received 377 calls relating to discharges to rivers and streams over the past 12 months across the Bay of Plenty Region. This equates to 10% of all calls received through the Hotline and this spill training was an excellent example of how to mitigate and manage these environmental risks.”


Under the Resource Management Act, the Regional Council has a responsibility to protect the environment. The Council meets these responsibilities by controlling discharges to the environment through policies and rules in Regional Plans and by managing the environmental effects through the Resource Consent process.