Media release

Media Release: Horne Creek water tests still awaited

Monday 16 May 2022

Water test results from Horne Creek near Queenstown – where up to 150 fish were found dead earlier this month– are still away at the laboratory, but could possibly be back later this week.

The Otago Regional Council is again calling for information from the public who may know anything about the incident, where up to 150 trout and one native galaxiid were found dead. There have been no responses yet.

ORC Manager Compliance Tami Sargeant said water quality samples were taken from two locations along Horne Creek, with the samples sent a Christchurch laboratory, which the ORC uses mainly for all its standard water sampling.

Mrs Sargeant says the usual turnaround time for testing is up to two weeks.

She says some of the fish carcasses are being held at the ORC’s Queenstown office and advice is being sought on which laboratory is best to send samples to, if the ORC decides to have them tested.

She said it could possibly take longer to get a water test result, given testing for specific chemical and substances could not be requested.

“Possibly testing would be quicker if we knew the source of pollution or pollutant, but the tests being done are all standard tests.”

She says the stream where the fish were located is a mix of rural and industrial.

“Lower down it passes through residential and commercial areas.”

Mrs Sargeant says since the incident was first attended on 1 May in response to complaints, and the following day, there had been no further reports of dead fish in the creek.

She says if anyone saw anything in relation to the fish deaths, she asks them to get in touch with the ORC on the Pollution Hotline on 0800 800 033. Information can be provided anonymously.

There is a range of solutions available to dispose of waste appropriately.

The ORC encourages people to contact their local authority for advice on the appropriate disposal method. Further information on ORC’s website at