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Remediating private properties on ex-landfill

MEDIA RELEASE
Friday 27 February 2004

Council to apply for funding to remediate private properties on ex-landfill

Christchurch City Council agreed yesterday to investigate applying to a central government grant scheme to help pay for the remediation of private residential properties at Sandilands.

Sandilands is a 12.5 hectare area in Wainoni/Aranui, formerly a Council landfill dating back to 1870. The landfill was closed in 1942, then covered and developed by the Council for housing.

There are 112 properties in Sandilands, 28 of which are owned by the Council. Of the 24 Council-owned properties that were tested for contaminants, seven were found to exceed the New Zealand guidelines relating to contaminated land. The Council has remediated those seven sites at a total cost of $256,186. Of the 84 privately owned properties, five out of six tested by the Council were above the guidelines. The remaining 78 sites have not been tested.

The Ministry for the Environment (MfE) operates a Contaminated Sites Remediation Fund to assist regional councils in the investigation and remediation of contaminated sites that pose a known or potential risk to human health and the environment. Under the funding criteria, each application is assessed on a case by case basis. The MfE could contribute from 20 to 80% of the cost of remediation. The average contribution is 50%.

The Council will apply to Environment Canterbury, which administers the fund on behalf of the MfE, for a grant towards a total estimated total cost of $2 million to remediate private residential properties at the Sandilands site.
The Council will decide whether or not to proceed with remediation once the outcome of the funding application to MfE is known.

The Council also agreed yesterday to develop a longer term plan (10-20 years) for addressing other contaminated residential land in Christchurch.
Alister James, Councillor and Chair of the Strategy and Finance Committee, said that Council is being a responsible territorial authority by applying to the MfE fund for the remediation of contaminated land, and developing a longer term strategy to deal with the wider issue in Christchurch.

“This is an ongoing issue for the citizens of our city. If we are able to plan for the clean-up of our contaminated sites, it will be of great benefit to our community in the short and long-term future”, said Councillor James.

Additional Information

In August 2001 the Council commissioned Montgomery Watson Harza to carry out soil tests at its housing complex Lyn Christie Place, as part of the housing asset management plan. Since then, under its obligations as landlord, the Council tested a further nine of its own sites which may have been used as a site for waste deposit prior to Council housing being built on them. Remediation has now been undertaken at seven City Housing complexes, including Lyn Christie Place.

The Council's investigations of its housing complex sites triggered a wider study involving many sites throughout the city. In the last nine months, the Council has been investigating and refining its data and information on all 120 known former landfill sites in the city. As this study continues, the Council will provide up-to-date information on all Property Information Memoranda (PIMs) and Land Information Memoranda (LIMs), relating to properties on former landfills and sites of controlled/uncontrolled fill. A letter will be sent to owners of properties where the PIM and Lim has been updated. Updating of PIMs and LIMs will begin in March this year.

ENDS

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