Current environmental incidents

We respond to a variety of environmental incidents in the region that affect our air, water and land. Here you can find the latest serious environmental incident alerts.

This page covers alerts for unexpected or urgent incidents involving discharges to land, air, and water, where we need the public to avoid a particular area. Here's how you can report an environmental incident.

If you are looking for warnings related to toxic cyanobacteria or faecal contamination at recreational water sites, see our health warnings.

Fishing vessel aground near Shell Bay in Banks Peninsula


Incident date: Sunday 24 September 2023

Last updated: 4.30pm Monday 25 September 2023

  • A fishing vessel has run aground on the southeastern side of Banks Peninsula.
  • All four crew were airlifted to safety last night. The 25m vessel is aground at Red Bluff on the southeastern coast of Banks Peninsula. The vessel has about 10,000L of diesel and 400L of hydraulic oil on board, as well as fish in its hold.
  • Some diesel has been released and is on the water heading towards Shell Bay and neighbouring bays that is home to a number of wildlife species.
  • An incident management team is currently assessing the situation and response options to safely minimise the impact of oil and debris on the environment.
  • We are asking boaties to avoid the area. People should not touch the spill or any affected wildlife.

    For more information visit Fishing vessel aground near Shell Bay in Banks Peninsula

Asbestos - North Bank of Waimakariri River


Incident date: Wednesday 6 September 2023

Last updated: 4.55pm Wednesday 6 September 2023

  • Asbestos found on north bank of Waimakariri River

    The red circle shows the area of the Waimakariri bank where asbestos has been found

    Asbestos containing material (ACM) has been discovered in an old dumping site in Waimakariri River Regional Park.
  • Asbestos is very harmful to human and animal health. To minimise harm, please do not disturb or come into contact with the waste in any way.
  • We have been advised by contaminated land experts that as long as the material remains undisturbed, the risk to human health is very low.
  • The contaminated area is on the north bank of the Waimakariri River, west of Downs Road (see map attached). Please avoid this area. We will place warning signage in the affected area as soon as possible.
  • We are working on a containment and removal plan for the contaminated material. We will provide updates on this process and what it means for park users.
  • Waimakariri River Regional Park will remain open, but please avoid the contaminated area and pay attention to warning signs.

Discharge to waterway, Saltwater Creek


Incident date: Friday 01 September 2023

Last updated: Friday 22 September 2.00pm

  • Test results from water samples taken three days after the spill indicate that the water quality in the affected area has returned to what it was before the incident. This means people can resume fishing, including whitebaiting.
  • However, this does not include shellfish. Further tests are required on shellfish to check whether they’re safe to consume.
  • For now, people must continue to avoid gathering shellfish in Saltwater Creek and the wider Saltwater Creek and Ashley/Rakahuri estuary. 
  • Other types of mahinga kai, including watercress, can be consumed but washing them in clean water first is advisable.
    At this stage, we are unable to release further details about the wider test results, due to the ongoing investigation. However, we are confident the deaths to whitebait and other fish were caused by depleted oxygen in river water as a result of the spill.
  • We appreciate this has been frustrating for those who like to spend time at the waterway, and we thank the community for its patience while the test results were being processed by the laboratory.
  • Please share this message with anyone who may be visiting the area.

For more information visit Discharge to waterway, Saltwater Creek