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Hefty fines loom for Auckland property developers polluting waterways, leaving rubbish

Auckland council is cracking down on property developers, issuing fines to those polluting waterways and leaving rubbish.

Clay, cement and other sediment has been streaming off the sites in East Auckland, with over a dozen failing environmental standards. Source: 1 NEWS

One street at Flatbush in East Auckland was targeted today, with 13 of the 15 building sites failing to meet environmental standards.

"There's more of a keenness to build the properties than there is to actually look at how that's affecting the environment," said Adrian Wilson of Auckland Council compliance.

The big problem is what's in the gutter on the street concerned. Clay, cement and other sediments are streaming off the building sites, clogging up the stormwater system and polluting waterways.

"We've got issues around our water quality as it is, especially in the Manukau. And this is all going into the Manukau Harbour and degrading it further," said Linda Cooper, Auckland councillor. 

Developers on the street were given a week to clean up and contain their sediment run-off and today the council was back with the threat of fines.

"Manage the driveway, don't let the clay go on the driveway. Don't let it go on the footpaths. Just tidy up your site everyday," was the message from Councillor Cooper.

Adding to the environmental woes, contractors' leftover materials had been left on the footpaths and, more alarming, of household rubbish illegally dumped. 

"They're dumping it on the berms here, hoping that the building people will pick it up for them. Well it's not going to happen," Councillor Cooper said.

A nearby stream is already showing signs of the rubbish and silt build-up.

"You times that by the rest of the building work that's going on in the area and you've got a big problem," Mr Wilson said.

As a result of today's sting, the council says it will be issuing a number of abatement notices, hitting the developers hard in the pocket with $750 a day until they put it right.

"It's not a hard process. It's quite simple. We've produced brochures to educate them but they just fail to take any notice," Mr Wilson said.

The next step could be prosecution, with penalties up to $600,000.