Hundreds of litres of highly toxic insecticide was spilled from a spraying unit being towed between orchards in Hawke's Bay.
Hastings firefighters spent more than two hours cleaning up the spill, which put animal and marine life at risk.
A Cropliner spraying unit with a full tank of insecticide was being towed by a tractor between two orchards when the towbar broke about 11am on Saturday.
About 150 litres of the 2000 litre load of highly toxic insecticide was spilled on Flaxmere Ave near Wilson Rd.
Identified as Dew 500 or 600, the insecticide is extremely toxic to animal and marine life.
Firefighters blocked nearby drains with foam to stop the insecticide from entering stormwater drains.
Hawke's Bay Regional Council pollution response staff were called to ensure it did not enter water ways and to observe the clean-up.
Council acting compliance manager pollution response Wayne Wright said the Fire Service acted quickly to keep the spill contained.
"We estimate 100 to 200 litres went into the gutters which were blocked off by the Fire Service," Mr Wright said. "If it had got into the storm water there's no doubt there would have been damage."
Council staff would look into the incident to try to prevent something similar happening again.
"We're happy the Fire Service was involved because we were informed quickly and can be confident any action needed at the scene was taken," Mr Wright said.
"It's not particularly common and we will look further to see how it happened. We might not be so lucky next time."
Fire Service Hastings Senior Station Officer Bruno Saathof said those responsible for such spills could be charged the cost of the clean-up.
It was the second chemical spill clean-up in four days attended by Hawke's Bay Fire Service.
Crews from Napier and Hastings responded to 500 litres of highly corrosive liquid caustic soda spilled at a Napier transport depot on Wednesday.
Fire Service crews wearing protective equipment neutralised the spill with citric acid. with NZPA