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Published: 2011-12-19 00:00:00

Waikato Regional Council is appealing for help to locate the source of diesel which has today spilled into the Waikato River for the third time in the past three months.

The spill occurred this afternoon through the storm water system, which discharges into the river near the St Andrews Golf Course.

It is thought several hundred litres has entered the river.

The council’s ready response team is on site, but the deployment of absorbent booms is not feasible due to high river levels.

The diesel is being swept down river and the council is warning people who take water from the river for stock to take precautions to ensure the water is not tainted.

Compliance and education manager Rob Dragten said current river levels would help dilute today’s spill and therefore minimise any potential environmental damage it might cause.

"While diesel has a distinctive unpleasant odour and leaves visible rainbow sheening on the surface of the water, it generally evaporates reasonably easily and is expected to be gone quite quickly," Mr Dragten said.

“But it’s important we locate where this diesel is coming from so we can take any necessary action to prevent further spills.”

Anyone with information on the possible source of the diesel is urged to contact the council on 0800 800 401.

The storm water system which discharges into the river near St Andrews collects water from much of Te Rapa and Avalon Drive, so the diesel could have come from anywhere in that area.

“Inquiries into the two previous spills have failed to identify the source. There’s likely to be members of the community who will know where this diesel has come from and we’d be keen to hear from them,” Mr Dragten said.