This document outlines the strategy proposed by the West Coast Regional Council for ensuring that a coordinated and effective approach is taken.
A risk-based approach to contaminated site management is recommended for reasons of pragmatism as the community cannot afford to manage or remediate too many sites at once. By prioritising this Council’s response to specific contaminated site issues on the basis of risk it has achieved the greatest environmental gain earlier in the programme. A focus on prevention of future contamination of land through the Council’s Environmental Education Strategy is a key component of a cost-effective programme in the long term.
Certain types of land use activities are associated with contaminated land due to manufacture, use, storage or disposal of hazardous substances. The Ministry for the Environment has compiled a list of activities and industries that have a higher probability of causing contamination because they typically use, store or dispose of hazardous substances. The list is called the Hazardous Activities and Industries List, or HAIL (MfE 2004a). By identifying and recording details of sites where such activities have occurred or are occurring, potential contamination can be managed. There are approximately 500 sites in the West Coast region that are currently known to have accommodated land use activities that may cause contamination, and there are likely to be many unknown sites.
A substance is classified as hazardous if it has one or more of the following intrinsic properties: explosive, flammable, capacity to oxidise, corrosive, toxic or ecotoxic. While industrial activities are the predominant users of hazardous substances and therefore lead to greater likelihood of contamination, certain commercial, agriculture/forestry or mining activities can cause contamination. Contamination of groundwater and surface water can result from contaminants leaked, spilt or discharged to land which in turn can cause adverse human health and environmental effects.
Many factors can affect the risk of such effects occurring, such as volume, concentration, degree of hazard and persistence of the contaminants discharged to the site, as well as soil and hydro-geological conditions on-site. Some contaminants, such as those associated with gasworks and timber treatment sites, are very toxic and persistent potentially leading to very long lasting effects on the environment.
The West Coast Regional Council's involvement in the identification and management of sites associated with hazardous substances arises from its responsibilities defined in Section 30 of the RMA. The West Coast Regional Council also has responsibilities under section 35 to gather information, monitor and keep records so that it can effectively carry out its functions under the Act.
For enquiries on a particular property please contact Council on 0508 800 118, or visit our office at 388 Main South Road, Paroa, Greymouth.
Click here to download the Totara Lagoon PCP and Dioxin Technical Report 2009 (PDF, 1.2MB)