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Published: 2012-11-09 00:00:00

1600 hours
Waikato Regional Council emergency response staff are not expecting any noticeable environmental impacts from this morning’s tanker crash just south of the tunnel in the Awakino Gorge.

The tanker was carrying about 20,000 litres of evaporated whey permeate, a dairy food product.

Council staff went to the scene to do an environmental assessment and assist emergency services, and to help contractors cleaning up afterwards.

Staff on the scene estimated about 2000 litres of the whey permeate ended up in the Awakino River.

Although not toxic to people, dairy products like whey permeate can be toxic to fish and other aquatic life because they can remove oxygen from the water as they break down.

However, emergency response manager Rob Dragten said a significant environmental impact was unlikely from the accident given the relatively small amount of the material spilt into the waterway and the volume of water flowing in the river.

“We’re not expecting the spill to have a noticeable effect on aquatic or marine life,” Mr Dragten said.

The contents remaining on the truck have been pumped out to another tanker, and contractors are organising the truck’s removal.