Contractors will be sent to Whangae Rd near Kawakawa to clean up any illegally dumped rubbish that can be safely reached, the Far North District Council says.
On Monday the Advocate revealed a 1km stretch of the rural road had been turned into an illegal rubbish dump with at least a dozen sites where household and commercial waste had been tipped into the bush.
As well as used nappies and domestic waste the mess includes whiteware, furniture, building materials, a car body, a dead animal and huge quantities of cans and bottles which could have been dropped off at recycling centres free of charge.
The dump sites are in steep bush-clad gullies dropping into a stream which flows into the Kawakawa River and then into the Bay of Islands.
The council's manager of infrastructure operations, Glenn Rainham, said contractors had been asked to inspect this road and recover rubbish where it was safe to do so.
''A more thorough inspection will then be made to assess if further recovery options are possible. Terrain along this road is very steep and further operations, if any, will have to wait until conditions are drier.''
Recovered rubbish would be searched for evidence to identify those responsible, he said.
''It's disappointing to learn that this bush area is being used as an illegal rubbish dump, especially as we know that around 80 per cent of dumped rubbish can be recycled. Both the nearby Whangae Refuse Transfer Station and the Moerewa Community Recycling Centre accept recycling at no cost,'' Rainham said.
Kawakawa man David Passey, who regularly rides his mountainbike along Whangae Rd, alerted the Advocate to the mess.
He contacted the council in spring 2020 but at that time the rubbish was deemed too difficult to clean up.
Since then the problem had become much worse, he said.
"It's good the council is going to have a crack at the pollution up there, but how far will they go? It is difficult terrain, and yet you have to ask: Is it acceptable to leave tonnes of rubbish behind that will continue to pollute streams, waterways and the bush, and blight the landscape?"
Passey said he understood illegal dumping was rampant across Northland.
''It's an embarrassment. I'd urge the council to look at the over-arching problem, to develop strategies to clean up the mess and stop it happening, rather than only dealing with it case by case as it's found.''
An estimated 80 per cent of illegally dumped rubbish could be taken to recycling centres free of charge, FNDC says.
In the year to the end of June 2021 the council received 413 complaints about illegal rubbish dumping and issued 67 fines.
The cost to ratepayers of cleaning up illegal rubbish during the same period was $202,802.03.
The number of complaints about illegal dumping doubled during the recent lockdown.
Anyone with information about illegal dumping should call the council on 0800 920 029.