Good news for communities and environment with progress at two polluted sites

Two sites in Northland and Manawatū are now safer for the community and the environment after projects to clean up and remediate the effects of pollution.

Environment Minister David Parker today welcomed the safe removal of hazardous waste from the Sustainable Solvents Ltd site in Ruakaka, Northland.

“This project involved the safe removal and disposal of all the hazardous waste from the site and the cleaning of the site infrastructure. The clean-up of the waste solvents stored on the Sustainable Solvents site is now complete,” David Parker said.

The estimated tonnages and volumes of solvents and wastes removed and disposed of, from the Sustainable Solvents Ltd site were:

  • 490,000 litres of solvents and solvent contaminated water
  • 2,950,000 litres of contaminated bund water
  • 300 tonnes of solvent sludge
  • 75 tonnes of general non-hazardous waste
  • 4,300 containers and drums.

The project was completed within the $3 million budget.

The provision of the final report, detailing disposal receipts and destruction certificates to the Whangarei District Council, is due to be completed in March 2022.

The good results came through collaboration between the Ministry for the Environment (Mfe), the Environmental Protection Authority, Whangarei District Council, Worksafe, Northland Regional Council and the project contractor GHD.

“It is regrettable that central and local government bore the cost of the clean-up rather than those who caused the problem,” David Parker said.

“This was partly caused by the short limitation period on lodging proceedings under the current Resource Management Act. We have already extended that from six months to 12 months, and as we reform the resource management system we intend to extend that further in the new Natural and Built Environments Act.”

David Parker also welcomed progress on a new water supply for the Ōhakea community in Manawatu after community concerns about the effects of PFAS from fire-fighting foam used at the Ohakea airforce base.

“I’m pleased to see good progress being made on the construction of the Ōhakea Rural Water Scheme in Manawatū and I’d like to thank Manawatū District Council and its contractors for bringing the scheme to fruition.

“The Government is contributing $10.88 million to this project, with extra funding coming from Manawatū District Council. This will provide the community with safe drinking water,” David Parker said.

A one million litre water reservoir is nearing completion with handover due on 10 January 2022. The design for the water treatment plant is completed and the water scheme will be operational from March 2022.

“Remediation and clean-up of contaminated land are top priorities, especially when contaminants are close to buildings, water and the community. 

“Progress at these two sites is helping take care of the environment and the wellbeing of the community,” David Parker said.

These initiatives are being funded through Mfe’s Contaminated Sites Remediation Fund.