Media release

Otago Regional Council urges careful sediment management amidst winter rainfall

Friday 9 July 2021

The Council’s pollution response team have received 19 sediment discharge complaints in the last month.

Wet weather has disturbed sediment at a number of locations around the region, and the Otago Regional Council (ORC) is issuing a reminder about the importance of good sediment management at earthworks sites.

ORC Manager Compliance Tami Sargeant said inadequate controls could lead to harmful pollution of Otago’s environment.

“If the right controls are not put in place, heavy rain can carry sediment from earthworks into our waterways. While some sedimentation occurs naturally in high flows, sediment flowing into streams, lakes, and the coastal environment can be harmful for freshwater and marine ecology.”

Ms Sargeant said it was important that developers be aware of the rules around earthworks.

“Some of the highest risk areas right now are around residential developments. Developers need to be aware of the requirements for sediment management in ORC’s Water Plan, including provisions of Plan Change 8. If you have a consent, you must adhere to the consent conditions and take the necessary steps to keep disturbed sediment from reaching waterways.

“Suitable erosion and sediment controls should be in place before earthworks begin to minimise the risks of pollution.”

If people are unsure about the rules around earthworks, they should contact ORC’s consents team by emailing, or calling 0800 474 082.

Anyone who sees pollution around Otago should contact the 24/7 ORC pollution hotline on 0800 800 033, or email