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Mixed fuel pollution warning

Mixed fuel pollution warning

Have you ever put the wrong fuel in your car? Auckland motorists dumping mixed fuel into drains and waterways are receiving a strong warning about the damage caused to the environment.

The message comes following an incident in mid April which saw a tributary to the Orewa river polluted when fuel was allowed to flow into it by a motorist who had mistakenly filled up with the wrong fuel.

“There are a large number of these mixed fuel incidents in Auckland every year and it is vital that motorists seek correct professional advice about how to deal with them, if we are to avoid this ongoing and totally avoidable pollution in the region,” said Brian Smith, Environmental Management Committee chair.

At 3.30pm on Saturday (April 17) ARC’s 24-hour pollution hotline (377 3107) received a call from local residents in Orewa who had noticed the fuel in the wetland at Warunui Court, Maygrove.

ARC pollution control officer Nicholas Rowan responded to the call. Diesel fuel inadvertently pumped by a motorist at an Orewa service station was later released into a gutter on the roadside when the mistake was noticed, said Mr Rowan. The diesel made its way back through the drain system into the wetland area that has recently been restored by local residents.

“The fuel had to be contained with booms” (flotation devices that stop liquids spreading on water surfaces). “Most of the oil was then soaked up with an absorbent material and lifted out and taken away.”

“We will probably never find out who did this but it is important to send a message to the public about the correct procedure to follow if faced with a problem like this,” said Mr Rowan.

“Service stations and oil companies have processes to deal with mixed fuel incidents, and service station staff are trained how to respond correctly when a member of the public reports an incident. If the mistake is discovered away from the service station, the motorist can seek advice on what to do from ARC’s 24-hour pollution hotline, 377 3107,” he said.

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