Rubbish washed up in Fiordland does not come from an old West Coast landfill eroded by floodwaters, says the Westland Mayor.
It had been reported that the rubbish seen there had been swept down the coast when the Fox River flooded last month, and that the area covered in rubbish was about 100km long.
The spread of rubbish from the dump was smaller than first thought, Mayor Bruce Smith said.
Aerial surveys showed the affected area was about 50km - initial reports had suggested the rubbish had spread along the coast at least twice as far.
The landfill was now secure enough to withstand rain forecast to hit on Tuesday, with about 100 millimetres predicted, Mr Smith said.
He had been at the Fox River today with a large team of volunteers, and had walked across the river bed.
"The rubbish, while it's not big, there's a lot of it, it's tangled up in trees, under rocks, and it's very widespread," Mr Smith said.
"It will take a considerable length of time to clear it all out."
He said the rubbish was not always easy to see, scattered across the river bed.
"However when you walk, and you walk across the stones, there'll be a plastic bag tucked under a rock. When you come across a log that's washed down, it will generally be wrapped with stuff."
Volunteers had done a huge job, clearing rubbish from the area just north and south of the river, but there was still a large amount of work to do, he said.
The council had decided to access funding available from the government to help with clean up.
There were several different funds it could access, Mr Smith said, and council staff would decide which was the best option.