Pollution

Otago is a big region, and we rely on the public to let us know when and where you see pollution. Our staff respond to pollution of air, waterways, land and the coastal marine area. Staff attending an incident do not make decisions about enforcement they are there to ensure the pollution stops, and gather evidence. ORC is responsible for looking after our region’s natural resources. To help us do this we have rules that are designed to prevent pollution harming the environment. 

How to report pollution

If you see pollution please call our 24/7 pollution hotline on 0800 800 033 straight away.
You can also report pollution by emailing pollution@orc.govt.nz 

How quickly we know about an environmental incident makes a huge difference to how well we can investigate it.

What needs to be reported?

Any instance of pollution to water, air, or land in Otago should be reported or any other breach of our Regional Plans or the Flood Protection Management Bylaw. For more specific details of what is activities may cause pollution and what is prohibited in the Otago region, please see our Water Plan, Air Plan and Waste Plan.

How we deal with reports of pollution

What happens now?

Our response will depend on the type of incident, frequency, site history, and location. 

  • When you reported the incident you would have been asked for your contact details.
  • The investigating officer may contact you for more information or clarification of your concerns. This enables us to gauge the scale of the incident.
  • Please note all details you provide will be kept confidential.

Follow-up action

ORC may take the following action:

  • Write a letter to the alleged offender advising them of the rules in our Air Plan, Water Plan, Coastal Plan or Waste Plan (whichever is relevant)
  • Write a warning letter to advise of the potential consequences should the activity continue
  • Attend the site to talk to the person who caused the incident
  • Instruct that the activity has to cease, and gather evidence for potential enforcement. 

An incident report may be written by ORC's attending officers. This report will be reviewed by the Enforcement Decision Group (EDG). The EDG may decide to take action, which can include an abatement notice, a fine, or court action.

Other information

Please note that ORC staff attending an incident are there to ensure the pollution stops, and gather evidence. Staff attending an incident do not make decisions about enforcement. ORC cannot discuss the incident until investigations are completed, and any enforcement action is resolved (except for the purpose of gathering information).

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