Drilling firms told off over breaches

ISOBEL EWING
Last updated 05:00 06/02/2013

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Two major Taranaki drilling companies have been told to clean up their act, according to two council reports tabled yesterday.

Todd Taranaki Limited McKee Production Station and Todd Taranaki Deep Well Injection were required to lift their performance after the reports found breaches of resource consent.

Samples taken in April 2011 showed an oil discharge in the Mangahewa Stream adjacent to the McKee Production Station, possibly resulting from activities related to the station.

An oil odour was reported at the time of sampling and stream life was found to have been detrimentally affected.

Director of environmental quality Gary Bedford said the council was continuing to monitor the stream for signs of deterioration and the company had shown improvement. "We are conducting ongoing inspections of the site and they are complying," Mr Bedford said.

The Mangahewa Stream was fast-flowing which reduced the detrimental effect on stream life, he said.

"The hydrocarbons [oil] can form a slick on the surface.

"If it were stagnant it could form a layer that would reduce oxygenation in the stream."

The oil could also have a direct toxic effect on the variety of worms and snails in the stream, he said.

Todd Taranaki Deep Well Injection was issued an infringement notice after the company was late in submitting its written annual report.

Mr Bedford said tardy submission was not permitted by the council as resource consent required delivery of ongoing reports.

"We need information to assure ourselves things are being done properly.

"Some information we rely on the company to provide to us, so if they are not doing that we are left in a black hole."

After the company was chased up they subsequently lifted their game, he said.

The Taranaki Daily News was unable to contact either of the oil companies for comment.

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