A number of council staff in high-visibility vests around Ōmanu may be enough to raise a few eyebrows.

But don't be alarmed - the Bay of Plenty Regional Council is doing an oil spill training exercise at the Ōmanu Surf Club.

The exercise will run from 9am to 3pm and will test beach clean-up techniques, wildlife response capabilities and establish an emergency operations centre out in the field.

It is part of a regular programme of training which ensures the council continues to build its oil spill response capability in preparation for the next event.

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Last year, there were 18 oil spills reported in Tauranga and one in the Whakatāne River, according to new data from the Bay of Plenty Regional Council.

Oil spill at Matapihi in June last year. Photo / File
Oil spill at Matapihi in June last year. Photo / File

The public would see council staff going through the motions of what would be done with the Oil Spill Contingency plan.

The public will not need to avoid the area but would not be able to join in as it is an operational exercise.

Last year, about 150 litres of hydraulic oil was discharged at the Sulphur Point Wharf site, leased from the Port of Tauranga.

The oil was spilled from a container handler on or about September 21-22 last year into a nearby stormwater catchpit.

From there, the oil flowed into the Tauranga Harbour, a court was told.