top of page

Cleaning up our most polluted stream
How two Councils worked together to get a major industry to stop discharging to land in circumstances leading to water

The Ōpāwaho-Heathcote River flows through Christchurch City. The headwaters of the river flow through the industrial part of the city, and this gives it a toxic start in life. One factory in particular was identified as contributing high levels of contaminants to the stream.

Environment Canterbury has used an Abatement Notice to drive a 3-Million-dollar upgrade of this 12-hectare industrial site.  This has taken them from a history of poor environmental performance towards best-practice management of storm-water on site. We are now expecting significant reductions in the levels of pollution in the stream.

This enforcement process required Environment Canterbury and the Christchurch City Council to work together as we have shared responsibilities for the site.

I will explain the techniques that Environment Canterbury used, such as;

  • Developing a ground-breaking new Abatement Notice process.

  • Using auto-samplers to detect discharges in stormwater pipes.

  • Empowering the Christchurch City Council to manage this site under their global stormwater consent with boots on the ground.

  • Sampling to identify pollution signatures in the stream.

  • Using site visits and the powers of the RMA to inspire investment and achievement.

  • Collaborating with University of Canterbury researchers to do monitoring.


Thursday 8th December, 10:30am


Nick Moody
Pollution Prevention Advisor, Environment Canterbury


Nick leads multi-agency catchment management projects. He has worked for DoC, F&G, CCC and EOS Ecology, as well as in factories and on farms. He is also a guest lecturer on waterways management. For the last four years he has worked on improving the water quality in the industrialised headwaters of the Opawaho-Heathcote River in Christchurch. He works to prevent pollution entering rivers through a patient and collaborative approach, combining enforcement work with advocacy and education.


bottom of page