Waikato District Council has received a formal warning following an investigation into an incident at Easter weekend which resulted in untreated wastewater getting into Raglan harbour.
The regional council’s industry and infrastructure manager Brent Sinclair said the decision to settle on a formal warning reflected the overall facts of the case, and the district council’s response to the spills.
“The spill on 25 March was a serious incident but, having regard to all the circumstances and the swift actions of district council staff in responding to the incident, we consider a formal warning is appropriate.”
The regional council’s investigation found the discharge occurred after a section of pipeline failed, most likely due to a combination of technical factors. There was a second minor discharge from a manhole the next day while remediation work on the failed section of pipeline was carried out.
In a formal warning letter, Mr Sinclair acknowledged that district council staff had worked quickly to sort out the problems.
However, the letter also noted: “It is concerning that there is a growing number of formal enforcement actions that have been taken against your [district] council for breaches of the Resource Management Act.
“Each action contributes to the Waikato District Council’s history of non-compliance. We are obliged to take this history into account each time a further breach is identified.”
Mr Sinclair said the regional council had not been able to determine the exact volume of wastewater that reached the harbour. Witness accounts suggested the spill into the harbour occurred over a relatively short period of time.