Thursday, January 11, 2024

Takaka - UPDATE at 1800 - Warning of potential water contamination after Golden Bay fire

Potential river water contamination in Takaka update 1800

11 January 2024 - Update at 1800 from Tasman District Council

Fears of widespread water pollution have eased in Tākaka, but testing is underway to determine if there is any contamination of water supplies following a large overnight fire in the Golden Bay town.

The retail shop of building and hardware supplier ITM was destroyed in the blaze which broke out about 3.00 am. The neighbouring Wrightson rural supply company building was also damaged in the fire. 

Initially there were concerns that water run-off from the fighting effort may have been contaminated with toxins from the building but an inventory of stock from the premises shows only relatively small volumes of paints and associated products were burnt.

The company’s bulk store of chemical and paint products was well away from the fire in a separate building and unaffected.

Stormwater testing using red dye has been done today to establish the flow of any potentially contaminated water from the fire site. This shows that any water that flowed from the scene was confined to a relatively small area and did not get into any streams or the local estuary.

However, because all properties in Tākaka are supplied from private water bores, one area near the fire site is being monitored. 

Full precautions are being taken and Tasman District Council is directly contacting 25 or so properties in a small area on Motupipi Street near Buxton Lane intersection to make them aware of potential infiltration of their bore water.

As a general precaution people living in these properties are being advised to drink bottled water due to the uncertainty about contamination, until further notice. 

If residents notice red dye in their bore water from the testing, they should contact Tasman District Council and if people feel unwell, they should seek medical attention immediately.

UPDATE from Council at 1400

Tasman District Council environmental officers are using red dye to see if any contaminated water has spread following a large overnight fire in Tākaka in Golden Bay.

The large fire at a hardware and building supplies company in Golden Bay initially generated a warning about possible contamination of nearby waterways.

There were early concerns that water used to fight the fire at the ITM retail outlet in Tākaka may have led to a discharge of contaminants in run-off water.

However, inspections show the contaminated run-off was confined to a drain off Motupipi Street from where it will be extracted. The council is now confident that no pollutants made it into the Motpipi stream nor the Rototai Estuary.  


Harmless red dye has now been placed into the stormwater system at the fire site to assess if there are any other points where potentially contaminated water may have discharged to.

There is no reticulated water supply in Tākaka and so residents and businesses use private bores for water. If people notice the red dye in their water supply, they should contact Tasman District Council as soon as possible.

Ash has also fallen in the area surrounding the fire scene and property owners who collect water from roofs are advised to divert pipes away from their collection tanks.

Advice from Council this morning

A large fire at a hardware and building supplies company in Golden Bay has generated a warning about contamination of nearby waterways. 

Tasman District Council is requesting all users of water from the Motupipi River in Takaka, from a tributary near Waitapu Engineering on Motupipi Street to the Rototai Estuary, to immediately cease taking water for any purpose such as domestic supply, stock drinking or irrigation.

The fire at the ITM retail outlet in Takaka may have led to the discharge of the following into the river:  paint, petroleum-based products, copper-chrome-arsenic from treated timber, melted plastic residue and fire-fighting chemicals.

These chemicals are likely to be toxic or harmful to humans, animals and aquatic life and may have long-lasting effects. 

The chemicals will be most concentrated in the upper reaches of the waterway where there is less dilution, but flow rates are such that it could have reached the estuary.

The situation is under investigation by Tasman District Council Environmental Officers and details of likely quantities discharged to the waterway and any adverse effects on the stream ecosystem will become clearer through the day.

Tasman District Council Communications.

Pigeon post News, Richmond.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Looming changes forecast for Tasman District Council's 10 Year Plan

  Changes looming for Tasman District Council's 10 Year Plan   5 May, 2024 Tasman District Council’s Chief Financial Officer Mike Drum...