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Heavy rain increases earthworks risk

16 June 2004

Heavy rain increases earthworks risk

For immediate release: Wednesday 16 June 2004 Earthwork contractors are legally obliged to do “everything they can” to minimise damage to the environment. However, earthworks create an unavoidable risk even when they are managed properly, explains Environment Bay of Plenty’s manager consents and compliance Andy Bruere.

Mr Bruere told last week’s regulation and monitoring committee meeting that Environment Bay of Plenty had served 16 infringement notices after heavy rainfall in late April and early May. It is still investigating a major discharge from an earthworks site in Tauranga district.

When staff checked the sites, they found the consent holders had not complied with some aspect of their resource consent conditions. “Fortunately, in most cases, this did not appear to significantly increase the amount of sediment leaving the sites,” Mr Bruere says.

However, contractors must do better than that, he says. “It is very important that they follow all aspects of their sediment and erosion control plans. We need to cut down the risk factor as much as possible.”

Mr Bruere says Environment Bay of Plenty’s earthworks policy accepts that, during periods of heavy rain, there will always be some level of risk of sediment discharge from the site, even with good management practices. “It is unavoidable if we are to allow any earthwork development in our region.”

Environment Bay of Plenty will run a seminar on earthworks management for contractors and consultants later in the year.

ENDS

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