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Archive for October 10th, 2009

How Many Toxic Sites in New Zealand?

Posted by te2ataria on October 10, 2009

sent by a reader

Have you ever wondered how many toxic sites are out there, or whether your home, office/shop, school, hospital… are built on one?

According to our contact in the government, “pious pakeha 1,” there are probably as many as 130,000 contaminated sites in the country.

“[T]he number of potentially contaminated rural sites has not been formally assessed, there may be as many as 1,000 storage and dump sites containing unwanted pesticides and herbicides and a further 1,000 private and farm landfills (Ministry for the Environment, 1992b). New Zealand may also have several thousand contaminated sheep and cattle dip sites if the Australian example is any guide. A large number of Australian dip sites that were used before 1965 have high DDT and arsenic concentrations.” [36] (emphasis added) …” a  report said.

Take Hawke’s Bay, for example. It took 14 years and a ruling by the ombudsman’s office, before Hawke’s Bay Regional Council would release a partial list of contaminated sites in Hawke’s Bay. That’s right, 14 years.

Where are these sites located?

The list is very telling, but it’s by no means complete. It “includes schools, the old Napier Hospital, agricultural contractors, hotels, transport operators, garages, retailers, dry cleaners, tanneries and old landfills. Many activities are still operating but some have become residential sites.”

The council had originally destroyed the details, or hadn’t registered them at all. “The list, compiled for the council in 1995 by Worley Consultants using a broad desktop study that drew on phone book data from as far back as the 1930s, originally contained 3102 sites.”

Dominion Post said:

Following the ombudsman’s ruling in August, council staff began investigating (!) sites on the list and ruled many out, narrowing the list down to 1494 sites.

The Report added:

Until now landowners had never been informed their property was on the list. The council had said it believed property values could be affected … “

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