Clean up complete in some areas of Tauranga

By Te Kāea
  • Waikato/Bay of Plenty

Clean up at some of the worst affected areas of Tauranga Harbour after oil spill from a Mobil-owned pipe in in April has been completed.

Operations at Matakana and Rangitawaea islands, Pilot Bay and Sandy Bay have all been signed off, but Regional On Scene Commander Adrian Heays says in a statement to media today, there is still work to be done in other areas.

“A minor amount of oil remobilised at Bridge Marina last week, so we have reactivated clean-up efforts with prop washing and booms, recovering oil from the water, waterline scraping and solvent cleaning of dry marina structures. We’ve been wiping down the pier surface and using divers to clean difficult surfaces under water,” he said.

At the Port, pile cleaning continues with a final washing off to contain and remove any oil that may be trapped in pockets in rocks under the wharf.

At Maungatapu and Motuopuhi Island Mobil staff and local hapu are checking shorelines regularly, and a remediation plan is being developed for oiled seawalls and jetties.

The clean-up will continue until all areas have reached an acceptable end state, rather than an end date, he said.

Early results showed high levels of oil-related pollutants in shellfish at Maungatapu Bay, while monitoring at other sites have shown only typical levels.

“This suggests that initial impacts of the oil spill on shellfish were localised, affecting only heavily-oiled shoreline areas. Current contaminant levels and longer term oil spill impacts on shellfish can’t be assessed until at least six weeks of sampling has been completed at the end of June.”

The Regional Council has invoiced Mobil for a total of $691,766 in clean-up costs so far.