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Council ready to remediate property

15 July 2004

Council now ready to remediate its property Captain Thomas Courts

Christchurch City Council told tenants at its Captain Thomas Courts housing complex this morning that it is now ready to remediate the property, following recent results of further testing at the site and the development of a site remediation plan. Investigations at Captain Thomas Courts began in 2001, due to its history as a former gasworks site. Results of soil tests indicated the presence of contaminants in the soil at levels which exceed relevant guidelines . Contaminants found to exceed guidelines were polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), particularly benzo(a)pyrene (BAP).

In February 2004, in response to a request from Environment Canterbury, Christchurch City Council commissioned environmental scientists MWH NZ Ltd to undertake further investigation of the site. Groundwater samples were taken from three wells at Captain Thomas Courts. The results of one the three groundwater samples in particular showed concentrations of cyanide which exceed the relevant guideline value .

Since February, further testing has also been undertaken of the groundwater off-site and down-gradient of the Captain Thomas Courts site. The results showed that cyanide concentrations in all four samples taken were within the relevant guideline value.

A Remedial Action Plan and a Site Management Plan have been developed by MWH NZ Ltd, with recommendations as to how the Council should deal with its property at Captain Thomas Courts. The remediation works that will take place there are similar to those that have been completed at a number of other City Housing complexes, where the soil was found to have elevated levels of contaminants (PAHs). The main requirement of the Remedial Action Plan is for all gardening areas to be excavated and replaced with clean, imported soil, to a depth of 500mm. The Site Management Plan requires the introduction of a groundwater monitoring programme to verify that cyanide concentrations on and off-site remain at or below their current levels.

A public meeting is being held this evening for residents and owners of property near to Captain Thomas Courts. The meeting will be held at Sumner Community Centre, corner of Nayland St and Wakefield Ave, at 7.00pm.


In late 2001 Christchurch City Council began investigating its property at a number of housing complexes where the land may have had a history of use for waste deposit, or for industrial purposes that could have caused contamination. Investigations were carried out by environmental scientists MWH NZ Ltd, involving soil tests in the first instance. Captain Thomas Courts was included in this investigation, due to its history as a former gasworks site.

For further information, including statements from Environment Canterbury and Community Public Health, please see the attached report “ Captain Thomas Courts – Summary of issues relating to contamination, 15 July 2004”


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