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Eagle Eye Helps Crack Pollution Case For Council


Eagle eye helps crack pollution case for council
November 28, 2002

North Shore City Council is praising a Glenfield company for helping solve a pollution mystery that has seen Wairau Creek turn white for short periods of time recently.

Staff at Eagle New Zealand, which borders Wairau Creek, noticed the stream turning white on a few occasions at around 5pm and rang the council's Actionline to report it.

North Shore City Council's pollution prevention officer, Rowan Carter, says it was a difficult case to crack because the pollution was sporadic and occurred in short bursts making it difficult to trace.

"Eagle's prompt reporting has really helped and we've been able to trace the pollution to a painting contractor who had been cleaning his equipment over a stormwater drain that discharges directly into the creek," says Mr Carter.

"The painter was surprised when we told him his paint wash was ending up in the creek. He mistakenly thought it was going into the sewer system, but now he understands that his actions have directly impacted on the quality of the creek water that eventually ends up at Milford Beach.

"Paint-loaded water makes it difficult for plants to get sunlight and for aquatic and marine animals to locate food. It can also irritate fish gills and poison plant, insect and animal life," says Mr Carter.

Mr Carter urges everyone to remember that outside drains only drain rain.

"The painting contractor should have been cleaning his water-based equipment over an inside sink or on the grass, and reusing turps after cleaning oil-based painting equipment," Mr Carter says.

North Shore City's works and environment committee chairperson, Joel Cayford, says everyone can help protect the environment.

"Everyone needs to do their bit. It's not about dobbing people in - it's about protecting our natural environment for future generations. I trust the painting contractor now understands the flow-on effects of his actions, and I hope others won't make the same mistake," Councillor Cayford says.

Discharging paint into the stormwater system is illegal under the Resource Management Act and the council is considering what enforcement action to take against the painting contractor given this is a first offence. Chronic and repeat offenders can receive instant fines of up to $1000.00 or be prosecuted.

If people see any evidence of pollution entering streams, creeks or drains they are urged to report it immediately to North Shore City by calling Actionline on 486 8600.


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