The ruptured pipeline that caused so much trouble for airlines has now been fixed, but is the saga all over?

Residents close to the Ruakaka are still evacuated after an oil pipe burst near their homes last month 

On September 14, the pipeline from Marsden Point Oil Refinery to Wiri, a lifeline for the aviation industry, burst.

It caused major disruption to flights and financial losses for Air New Zealand and a loss of around $10 million for refining New Zealand.

For residents still evacuated and Ruakaka locals there is a lot of speculation about why things have gone quiet around the incident.

"There are a lot of questions and not a lot of answers," Bob Hislop told Q+A.

"We're not getting a lot of clarity about the process form here on in."

A month after the fuel crisis, the regional council still hasn't talked to the owner of the land where the pipe ruptured.

In a statement to Q+A, the Northland Regional Council said that it has "spoken with neighbours who advised that diggers had been on the property from time to time over the last several years".

Talk in the area about what to do now has moved onto legal action and who's liable.

Law professor Bill Hodge says the first step is to know who the defendants are.

"The first possible defendant is the operator of that digging machine, that seems to be the person who is right on the spot doing something stupid," he says.

Mr Hodge says the refinery could potentially sue for physical damage and loss of profits.

Refining New Zealand says nothing has come to light to change their initial assessment that a digger caused the damage.

However, there is speculation that there may be precedents overseas.

"Caltex had a pipeline over in Sydney the pipeline was broken and Caltex had an open and shut case for damage to the pipeline," Mr Hodge says.

"The more difficult questions are the economic loses to those downstream users for example Air New Zealand for example every international airline for example passengers who had to pay a hotel bill because they couldn't fly.

"So there is a whole range of downstream potential plaintiffs."

On a hill over looking the harbour and the refinery, Ani Pitan explained how her iwi has concerns over the refinery's infrastructure and has been monitoring oil spills into the environment. 

The land the oil refinery is on was confiscated from her iwi, Patuharakeke, by the government. 

"This is the third major environmental incident...there was about 70 - 90 weeks since the last incident which was an oil spill at Marsden Point at North Port and then 50 weeks prior to that, another oil spill from a bunker...that leaked into the harbour," Ms Pitan said. 

At the rupture site, contaminated water is still being trucked in tankers to the refinery ponds and the soil trucked south to a landfill for contaminants where the leachate will be collected. 

The clean up at the site is expected to continue to at least the end of the year. 

The council has six months to investigate the rupture and taken enforcement action.

Last week the council tested bored around the Ruakaka district and found no tract of petrol hydro carbons but despite reassurances, there are those in the community who aren't so confident. 

"We are the Kaitiaki here and we're completely concerned about what the impact's going to be," Ms Pitan said. 

-By Q+A reporter Whena Owen

Q+A reporter Whena Owen went to Ruakaka and found there are still many questions yet to be answered. Source: Q+A