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Remediation next week at childcare facilities

Remediation to begin next week at childcare facilities

Auckland City will begin remediation works to remove contaminated soil at two childcare facilities in Freeman's Bay as early as next week.

Contractors are preparing to move on site and start clean-up works at the Barnardos Early Learning Centre and the Auckland Central Playcentre.

Soil tests at both sites showed elevated levels of potentially toxic organic chemicals, known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. These include benzo-a-pyrene.

The Barnardos centre will remain open until the Easter holidays. The Auckland Central Playcentre is temporarily closed.

High-strength protective matting is in place at both sites to cover all exposed areas of grass and soil, so that children are not exposed to contaminated land.

Auckland City's Deputy Mayor, Dr Bruce Hucker, says he's pleased the work will begin so quickly.

"The council wants to get in and clean up these sites fast, so that they're 100 per cent safe for children to return to after the holidays. We're pleased to have the cooperation and support of parents to be able to action this work almost immediately," he says.

The remediation plans for both sites will involve removing the top half-metre of exposed soil. Contractors will then lay down an anchored barrier mat to prevent any deep contamination from reaching the surface and re-fill the site with clean soil.

A clay barrier will also be installed around the boundary of the properties as an additional precaution.

The sites will then be re-tested for contaminants to ensure that they are clean and safe, before they are landscaped.

The remediation work means both sites will be completely safe for children, parents and staff to use.

The council is still either carrying out soil tests or waiting for results for three other childcare sites in Mount Albert and Onehunga.

It has also decided to carry out soil tests at another childcare facility on council-owned land in Freeman's Bay. Tests will be done at the Freeman's Bay Kindergarten in Tahuna Street on Monday.

The council is carrying out these tests as a precautionary measure given that two other sites in close proximity showed evidence of land contamination from imported fill.

Dr Hucker says, "This is a precautionary measure and it's just to reassure us and the kindergarten that their site is safe. Of course if there are any issues, the council will move immediately to clean up the site."

Ends

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