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Pipeline rupture update

Thursday 19 October, 2017

Pipeline rupture update

Northland Regional Council position 1000hrs Thurs 19 Oct

A regional council officer has now spoken with the landowner’s wife about the matter in some detail
The landowner’s wife has been cooperative and has also independently spoken to representatives of both NZ Refining and its insurers on several occasions
Evidence council has collected to date indicates a digger was on site in the area of the damaged pipeline about three years ago
This has been confirmed following separate discussions with both the landowner’s wife and a neighbour
Publicly available satellite imagery has been checked to see if it shows a digger in the area over the relevant period, however, regular cloud cover meant the site was not visible for much of the time and no useful imagery was able to be sourced
To date, no one has been able to confirm the identity of the digger driver allegedly involved, however, the council is now following a ‘strong line of inquiry’ in that regard (Council is unable to provide more detail at this stage to avoid compromising this aspect of its investigation)
Council’s current focus remains on ensuring a methodical, careful and thorough investigation into the cause of the discharge
Legally the council has until mid-March (2018) to lay any potential charges relating to the spill; which technically and legally is classified “an unauthorised discharge of contaminants to land”
As expected, results of groundwater (bore) sampling undertaken by the council in the vicinity of the pipeline rupture site have confirmed that bore water supplies have not been contaminated by petroleum hydrocarbons (the samples were independently analysed by Hills Laboratories; an accredited laboratory in Hamilton)
The council continues to work with Refining NZ on site remediation and is clarifying the resource consents required for remediation works.


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