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Pipeline rupture

Pipeline rupture
Northland Regional Council position 0900hrs Mon 18 Sept

Council was advised of spill by Refining NZ about 3pm on Thurs 14 September
Council staff responded immediately, carrying out an extensive site assessment over several hours and assisting refinery workers with initial containment of spilled aviation fuel
Containment and recovery is being led by Refining NZ (usual practise for companies involved in fuel spills)
Regional council’s role is essentially currently limited to checking that the clean-up is being done in an appropriate manner
To that end, council staff have been carrying out daily checks of the clean-up operation, including supervising refinery sampling
Council will also be sampling groundwater bores to establish existing water quality parameters in the vicinity, but does not believe these will be impacted given the prompt nature of the containment, recovery and clean-up
Measures to prevent off-site contamination include installation of a number of dams, booms and other equipment to contain, isolate and separate any aviation fuel from water
At this stage, council is satisfied the refining company acted promptly and appropriately, both in its notification of – and subsequent response to – the leak
The refinery is still working to accurately determine the amount of fuel lost
A large volume of contaminated soil and groundwater continues to be removed back to the refinery for product recovery/disposal as required
Council will continue to monitor the pipe repair and clean-up operation, which is expected to continue for some time (ie at least another week, possibly more)
As with any spill, the regional council will investigate the circumstances leading up to it and consider what, if any, further action is appropriate. This could include formal enforcement, including potential prosecution under the RMA
Questions about the cause of the leak and any ongoing issues with supply of jet fuel etc to refinery customers are matters for the refining company, not the regional council


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