Oil waste heading to Waikato

The oil being collected off Bay of Plenty beaches is destined for a dumpsite in the Waikato.

A landfill site in Hampton Downs, 50km north of Hamilton will house the oil.

A clean-up at Harrison Reserve.

Volunteers and New Zealand Defence Force soldiers are again taking to the coastline, stretching from Mount Maunganui to Maketu, to remove the oil which has washed ashore from the stricken cargo ship Rena.

Environment Minister Nick Smith says the site is the most suitable and closest location for the oil.

“The Hampton Downs landfill is the closest landfill capable of safely taking these types of waste.

“It has sealed liners and the capacity. It's (the oil from the Rena) very similar toxicity to the heavy oil used in bitumen and the most important this is that we get it off the beach and sensitive environments.”

Maritime New Zealand national on scene commander Nick Quinn says the response from the community to the unfolding situation from the stranded vessel Rena has been tremendous.

“We have enormous support from the local community who have turned up willing and ready to work.”

“There are 500 people on the beaches today cleaning up the oil and assessing the potential impacts on shoreline around the Bay of Plenty.”

A total of 95.45 tonnes of solid waste and six tonnes of liquid waster had been taken to a waste transfer station as of 5pm on Thursday.

People wanting to volunteer to help clean-up can register at www.boprc.govt.nz/oilspillvolunteers/