Council’s pollution hotline busy as Auckland’s drought continues

Auckland’s streams and ponds are the latest victims of the region’s ongoing drought.

Since the beginning of the year, there has been an increase in calls to the Auckland Council Pollution Response hotline. Reports of stagnant black streams, watercourses turning an orange or red colour, iron oxide and algal blooms have flooded in from across Auckland.

Prolonged periods of dry weather can have a significant effect on the watercourse environment, increasing algae growth and causing harmful toxins such as botulism.

Auckland Council’s Manager of Resource Consents, Heather Harris, says that naturally occurring effects to streams and watercourses will usually correct themselves.

“Although many people may be concerned with the odour and appearance of the water, a few days of solid rain will rejuvenate the streams and ponds, increasing oxygen supply and reducing stagnant water.”

Naturally occurring phenomena can be caused by a number of uncontrollable factors, like dry weather. However something the public needs to be aware of, and can control, is the impact of everyday household activities which can also pollute our water systems.

“There are some simple things we can all do to help limit pollutants, for example wash your car on the grass if you can and don’t put left over paint or DIY remnants down the drain,” says Ms Harris.

If you are out and about and spot anything of concern in your local stream or natural watercourse, please contact the Auckland Council’s Pollution Response Team on 09 377 3107. You can also visit www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz for further tips on pollution prevention.

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