Wanaka resident Don McKinlay is up in arms again over development sediment discharges into the Clutha River — this time during last week’s torrential downpour.
Mr McKinlay has been complaining about dirty discharges into the Clutha River since 2017.
He confirmed he was among the 30 recorded complainants from around Otago who raised various stormwater pollution cases with the Otago Regional Council (ORC) last week.
Floods were recorded throughout the region, causing widespread road closures, damage to transport infrastructure and a red alert to trampers in Mount Aspiring National Park.
Mr McKinlay told The News he contacted ORC staff on July 19 to report development discharges into the Clutha River via the Rockabilly Gully in the Department of Conservation’s Hikuwai Reserve, at Albert Town.
‘‘There is a veritable river flowing down that once beautiful Rockabilly Gully. When are we going to see some concrete progress on stopping this environmental vandalism?’’ Mr McKinlay said in an email to the ORC.
Mr McKinlay said ORC staff members had confirmed an investigation was under way.
Water samples and photos had been taken and the ORC had the sediment controls. He was also asked to keep using the ORC pollution hotline when problems arose, Mr McKinlay said.
ORC compliance manager Tami Sargeant said in an email to Mr McKinlay on July 21 because an investigation was under way, there would be no public comment.
A media release from Ms Sargeant on July 22 confirmed 30 stormwater pollution complaints around the region in the past two weeks.
The complaints were mainly from Wanaka and Dunedin, but also from other districts, she said.
Ms Sargeant also said there had been ‘‘cases of inadequate controls during the past few days which led to harmful pollution of Otago’s environment’’, but she did not say where.
‘‘We’ve come across a number of stormwater discharges this week, due to the consistent rainfall,” she said.
“The priority here is for people and businesses to check that sediment controls are in place and stormwater drains do not have contaminants going into them,’’ she said.
People needed to be aware of the stormwater rules and had to adhere to consent conditions, she said.
During high›flow events, some sedimentation occurred naturally, but sediments flowing into streams, lakes and the coastal environment could be harmful for freshwater and marine ecology, she said.
Other types of stormwater pollutants included liquid paint, plaster, clean›up wash water and solvent wastes.
Earlier this year, the Court of Appeal dismissed an appeal by developer Northlake against a $42,500 fine for sediment discharge down Rockabilly Gully and into the Clutha River.
Bullock Creek in Wanaka is another a long›term sediment concern for the Wanaka public.
It also received sediment from the Alpha Ridge Series settling pond during the recent rainstorm.
The QLDC is at present seeking resource consent from itself to build a stormwater swale system through the Wanaka Showgrounds to avoid polluting Bullock Creek in the future.