Discharge to waterway incident in Christchurch

Christchurch City Council and Environment Canterbury responded to an incident earlier this month at a Blenheim Road business where liquid waste material was discharged to land where it could enter local waterways. Christchurch West Melton zone delivery lead Nathan Dougherty provides the latest updates below.  

Update 24 April 2023

Warning lifted following discharge incident

People and their animals can now return to using the Curletts Road basin area as they usually would.

The results of water sampling taken during the initial response have been returned and analysed. The increased risk levels associated with contact with waterways in the area following the discharge incident have returned to normal.

These findings, along with the absence of any impacted wildlife in the area since the incident, mean we are comfortable lifting the warning that was issued following the discharge event.

People should remain aware that the Curletts stormwater treatment basin has elevated levels of contaminants at times, due to industrial activities in the catchment. The basin is designed to treat water within Curletts Stream to remove sediment and contaminants to improve water quality in the stream and the Ōpāwaho/Heathcote River. 

Update 2 - 6 April 2023

"We have responded to an incident at a Blenheim Road business where liquid waste material has been discharged to land and has been detected in waterways in the immediate area," Nathan said.

Map of the incident area

Map of the incident area

"The source of the industrial discharge has been identified and Environment Canterbury and Christchurch City Council staff are working with the business to ensure the discharge is contained, and the source of the contamination is removed.

"We are asking the public and their animals to keep out of waterways in the Curletts Road basin area, opposite the A&P showgrounds, see map. Signs will be erected at access points today.

"If members of the public see any affected wildlife, they should call 0800 765 588. Please do not handle any wildlife," he said.

Environment Canterbury and Christchurch City Council staff are taking a series of samples for chemical analysis and checking water in the immediate area. It is likely that a mix of industrial waste products has affected waterways close to the discharge site.

We will also be testing downstream where Curletts Basin flows into the Heathcote River/Ōpawaho to better understand how far the discharge has spread.

The discharge is unrelated to the recent fish kill in the Heathcote River/Ōpāwaho, which occurred about 10km away in Opawa.

We will continue monitoring the situation and update this page where we can. 

Update 1 - 5 April 2023

Update 5 April 2023

People and their animals should avoid and keep out of any waterways in the area of:

  • The Wigram Retention Ponds (at the A&P showgrounds)
  • The Curletts Road area
  • The Lunns Road area
  • The stretch of the Heathcote River/Ōpāwaho in the vicinity of the sites mentioned above. 

If members of the public see any affected wildlife, they should call us on 0800 765 588. Please do not handle any wildlife.

A further update is expected around mid-morning Thursday 6 April.