Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search


Study highlights need for subdivision soil testing


Agrichemical study highlights need for soil testing before subdividing land for housing

For immediate release: Monday 4 April 2005

A comprehensive study of agrichemical residues in Bay of Plenty soils has highlighted the possible need for soil testing of horticultural sites proposed for residential subdivision.

The study was managed by Environment Bay of Plenty as a joint project between the regional council, Tauranga City Council and the district councils of Western Bay of Plenty, Rotorua, Whakatane and Opotiki.

Paul Dell, Environment Bay of Plenty’s group manager regulation and resource management, says the study detected higher background levels of some chemicals, particularly on old horticultural sites, which required more intensive spray regimes and different sprays than today. But the degree of elevation was “significantly less” than those found in a similar study in Auckland, he explains.

The study involved sampling nearly 130 horticultural and agricultural sites in the region for background agrichemical residue. Its aim was to find out whether Bay of Plenty soils have elevated levels of persistent agrichemicals and whether these levels pose a significant risk to any future land use.

“Many land uses in the past (mainly pre-1975) required the use of chemicals that have since been prohibited but are causing concerns internationally because of their persistence in the soils and the associated health risks,” Mr Dell says. “With much of our future residential development coming from ‘greenfield’ land or land that is currently used for horticultural or agricultural purposes, we wanted to be sure that the land was suitable for the new end use and that such developments did not bring with them any potential human or environmental health risks.”

The study set conservative levels for risk to both human health and the environment, basing trigger values for human health on a lifetime exposure of over 70 years.

While a number of sites had residue levels above the guidelines, none were at levels that flagged major health or environmental concerns, Mr Dell explains. More than half the sites did not show any elevated levels of chemicals at all. Three chemicals, copper, arsenic and DDT, posed the greatest risk, exceeding the guidelines on the highest number of sites. A few sites also exceeded lead, zinc or cadmium guidelines.

Mr Dell says the findings reinforce the need for caution and site-specific evaluation of potential contamination when subdivision applications are being considered on old horticultural properties. It will likely result in some changes to the process that takes place before a subdivision is approved by the relevant district council.

Environment Bay of Plenty and territorial local authorities will be developing appropriate policy for the assessment of future subdivisions.

Mr Dell wants to thank the landowners who agreed to take part in the study. Individual results have been sent to participants and will remain confidential to them.

You can view the study report on www.envbop.govt.nz or at Environment Bay of Plenty offices in Tauranga, Rotorua and Whakatane.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Werewolf: What Does Winston Peters Want His Legacy To Be?

A lot of people in New Zealand seem to resent Winston Peters and the power that he appears to have. “Appears” being the operative word. In reality, Peters will have power only up to the point that he uses it.

By next week, he’ll have become just another junior player in an MMP governing arrangement, battling to hold onto the gains he was promised. More>>


Rising Toll: Road Safety Needs To Be A Higher Priority

Official advice released to the Green Party under the Official Information Act shows that the previous National Government dismissed an option to make road safety its most important transport priority after being told the road toll was rising. More>>


Wellington.Scoop: Arrests At Blockade Of "Weapons Expo"

“We encourage people in Wellington to get down to the Westpac Stadium now for a day of awesome peace action. There will be plenty of food, music and activities to keep us sustained through the day.” More>>


Rorschach Restructuring: PSA Taking Inland Revenue To Court Over Psychometrics

The Public Service Association will be seeing Inland Revenue in Employment Court over its intention to psychometrically test employees reapplying for their roles at the department as part of its controversial Business Transformation restructuring plan. More>>


Nuclear Disarmament: Nobel Peace Prize 2017 Awarded To ICAN

Congratulations from iCAN Aotearoa New Zealand to international iCAN, the other iCAN national campaigns and partner organisations, and the countless organisations and individuals who have worked so hard for a nuclear weapons-free world since 1945. More>>


Expenses: Waikato DHB CEO Resigns

An independent inquiry has identified that Dr Murray had spent more than the agreed $25K allocated for relocation costs, and other unauthorized expenses involving potential financial breaches of the chief executive’s obligations. More>>


Wellington.Scoop: Sad About The Trolley Buses?

The Regional Council’s MetLink is today spending money to tell us that it really loves Wellington’s trolley buses, even though they’re all being taken off our roads by the end of this month. More>>


Post-Election: Preliminary Coalition Talks Begin

New Zealand First will hold post-election preliminary discussions in Wellington with the National Party tomorrow morning and the Labour Party tomorrow afternoon. More>>




Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election