Skip to main content
Published: 2016-06-01 00:00:00

Waikato Regional Council is welcoming the stationing of a new device in the region to help deal with maritime fuel and oil spills by sucking material in almost like a vacuum cleaner.

The so-called disc skimmer - stored at the council’s Gordonton depot – is owned by Maritime New Zealand and has been provided for the region’s agencies to use when responding to fuel and oil spills into water.

Waikato’s regional hazards team leader Adam Munro said the council typically gets involved in containing and cleaning up spills of lighter fuels and oils that sit on the surface of the sea or waterways.

“Having this Maritime NZ skimmer stationed at Gordonton is great for us as we have not previously had the ability to efficiently recover significant amounts of light fuel and oil in the region before.”

The skimmer works by having rotating oliophilic discs which draw in liquids. Fuels and oil stick to these discs whereas water doesn’t. The material collected can then be sucked up by a hose attached to the skimmer and recovered.

“The oil/water mixture recovered by this great little device is about 90 per cent oil and just 10 per cent water. This greatly reduces the volume of recovered waste requiring disposal.

“The skimmer significantly expands our capacity to protect the environment by clearing away spills more efficiently,” said Mr Munro.

Staff were trained in the use of the disc skimmer today during an exercise at Pukete in Hamilton.