I prodded the Council yesterday after seeing the Herald report on complaints of gaseous smells in the area as well as Manukau that drew complaints for the last six months prior to Wednesday’s explosion (see: Smells reported before deadly explosion).
This from the Council:
Salter’s Cartage explosion
Following the tragic incident at Salter’s Cartage yesterday afternoon, Auckland Council is providing assistance to WorkSafe NZ and other agencies to ascertain the cause of the explosion.
Staff are visiting the area today to check whether there are any contaminants discharging into the estuary that need to be contained as a result of the explosion.
On 6 August 2015, Auckland Council staff visited Salter’s Cartage for a routine compliance inspection and subsequently an abatement notice was issued for concerns with certain ducting and internal processes.
Salter’s Cartage was asked to provide an action plan to remedy issues by the end of September.
“Until WorkSafe NZ has completed its investigation we are unable to comment on the matter further,” says Auckland Council’s General Manager Resource Consents, Ian Smallburn.
Following yesterday’s incident the council has received queries regarding previous odour complaints recorded in the area.
Auckland Council has received approximately 60 complaints regarding gas odours in the general Wiri and Manukau areas since August 2014.
“Staff investigate each complaint thoroughly, and at this stage we have no conclusive evidence to associate these with any particular source,” says Mr Smallburn.
“Typically the odours were experienced over a short duration and have been reported in isolated pockets over a wide area, which makes investigating a source of origin very difficult,” he says.
Auckland Council has no evidence to suggest that either of the two issues outlined above are in any way associated with yesterday’s tragedy.
Auckland Council set up an oil recovery scheme with Salter’s Cartage, which was handed over to another organisation in 2012.
Believe me when that smell lingered in Manukau (even causing fire alarms to be triggered and/or buildings to be evacuated as people thought natural gas was leaking) was potent, potent enough I could even smell it on the Southern Motorway more than once passing by Manukau.
So then what was the cause of that smell that did make people sick?
As for the abatement notice that does raise an eye brow as well.