Media release

ORC appealing for information about Otago Harbour diesel spill

Thursday 12 November 2020

An estimated 400-600L of diesel has spilled into the South Dunedin stormwater network and into the Otago Harbour at Andersons Bay.

The Otago Regional Council (ORC) is appealing for information to help identify the source of the spill, and have enacted a pollution response plan to mitigate its environmental impact.

ORC Manager Compliance Tami Sargeant said the spill was a serious breach.

“We’re looking at a significant amount of diesel that has been discharged into the stormwater network, and our Investigations team are very keen to identify the source and determine what’s happened here.

“Given the volume of the diesel, we think it’s highly likely someone in the community will know how it got into the stormwater system. The adverse effects on the environment from a spill like this can be quite severe.”

Ms Sargeant said the pollution response team were using sorbent booms to stop the spread of diesel into Otago Harbour.

“The booms have been placed at the stormwater outfall into the Otago Harbour to soak up as much of the diesel contamination as possible and stop it from flowing further into the harbour.

“There remains an amount of diesel contamination in the stormwater network which will make its way to the harbour via the outfall pipe over the coming days.

“The time it takes for the diesel contamination to flush from the network depends on how much rain we get, but the booms will remain in place until the diesel has ceased discharging.”

DCC Group Manager 3 Waters Tom Dyer said the DCC was very disappointed to hear of the situation and staff were working closely with the ORC to determine the source of the pollution.

Ms Sargeant asked the public to pass along any information about the spill.

“We’d like to hear from anyone who may have seen or heard anything in the last 10-14 days that could potentially assist our investigation.”

People can get in touch anonymously with the investigations team via or on 0800 800 033.


Booms in place at Andersons Bay outlet to stop the spread of diesel into the harbour.

Booms in place at Andersons Bay outlet to stop the spread of diesel into the harbour.