Collecting nurdles for analysis
Collecting nurdles for analysis

Nurdles are pre-production microplastic pellets about the size of peas. Plastics companies melt them down to make stuff and sometimes they flush them away. Because they are Hydrophobic nasty chemicals like PCBs and DDE latch on to them, which would be cool but unforuntately they look like food and animals eat them and die. (details). I am collecting these ones in Pakuranga Creek to send to Japan for Analysis via

These Nurdles are likely from a local plastic manufacturing company. I will take some photos and let them know. Tru-Design

Update: I checked the storm water pipes that the plastics company uses and I found no Nurdles at all! They must be coming from somewhere else. Other storm water pipes in the area seem clean, there is something suspicious about the original outlet, there are too many different kinds of pallet for them to come from one spill.
No Nurdles

Otara Creek Leak

Otara Creek Leak

I found this wastewater pipe leaking into the Otara creek this morning. I have reported it to Watercare.

UPDATE: A contractor called me to help him find the pipe. No idea if he did.

UPDATE: Not leaking anymore

Scaly contamination

I am used to seeing icky contaminated run off like this. From here. UPDATE: I think this is bubbling up from landfill (we have over 200 different sites around Auckland City). I have asked Auckland Council about it.

Bright Orange Mud

But this is just weird, it dries hard. Like the mud is covered in milky ice. I found it here.

Scaly White Stuff
Scaly White Stuff

Powerhouse Civil

Dumping. Another slip. The gravel below the high tide line.
Dumping. Another slip. The gravel below the high tide line.

I was looking for erosion sites when I saw Powerhouse Civil actually dumping material into Tamaki Estuary here. I will let Auckland Council know tomorrow.

UPDATE: (2 Weeks later) Rowan from By-Laws called me and is referring it to a pollution dept.


Zinc contamination in sediment
Zinc contamination in sediment

I didn’t really get how zinc from galvanised roofs could be poisoning the estuary until I made this map. I found a presentation by Marcus Cameron which suggests that sites the source (the head of the estuary) are trending up (more zinc). At the same stormwater conference Judy Anne Ansen showed a pie chart on Industrial (Mt Wellington) zinc sources with about 80% attributed to roofs.

Marine report card for Tamaki is here:

More in depth articles on the zinc problem here:

My Questions/ Answered:

  1. How bad is zinc for the environment & what is it hurting? / 50% of organisms are expected to be affected
  2. Can we remove it without moving the mud?
  3. Is painting industrial roofs clearly the most effective fix? / Yes, tho storm water ponds can be great and they have other benefits