Rubbish is seeping into a river north of Gisborne after heavy rain cut into an old landfill.
Gisborne District Council (GDC) staff have been at Te Araroa, by the Awatere River and about 140km north of Gisborne today, trying to fix the problem.
The council was told about the problem yesterday afternoon.
GDC director of community lifelines, David Wilson, said the river cut across a bank and into a landfill that has been closed since 1991.
"You can see exposed rubbish on the sides of the banks. We've had teams up there today collecting rubbish from the side of the river and anything that's washed up along the beach."
Council staff pulled rock up to the bank to divert the river away from the landfill.
He said it was too early to say how much rubbish was in or around the river.
It came after heavy rain over the last 10 days.
Wilson was not expecting a problem like Fox River in West Coast last year, when 75 kilometres of coastline was strewn with rubbish.