Turangi resident Andy Kirkwood says water was discharged from the new storage tank in July, which he believes caused a die-off of the koura vai, or bracelet prawns.
“Below the construction site, there was a marked decrease in prawn numbers. Above the discharge pipe – plenty of prawns,” he says, in a letter to Cook Islands News.
“A local who fishes the area told me of a similar incident in Avana; and that he had been removing carcasses from the stream.”
Kirkwood said government’s Project Management Unit had assured him no chemicals had been used, but had declined to supply workplace records to show whether something else might have contaminated the stream. “Nothing has been done to prevent damage to the other intake streams.”
The Project Management Unit earlier issued a statement rejecting anonymous allegations that Te Mato Vai project was discharging chlorine into streams in Rarotonga. The Unit reissued the statement last night. “There are no grounds to this complaint.”
The Unit said no chemicals were being used to treat water at Te Mato Vai work sites.
Deputy Project Manager Tangianau Taoro said the new works were not connected to the old system.
“In other words, the water you are receiving from the tap now is being delivered through the same old pipes and is still untreated,” she said.