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Council Expecting Action at Mill Site

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Media Release   14 November 2008

Council Expecting Action at Mill Site  


Hawke’s Bay Regional Council wants to be certain that actions planned or currently being taken by Carter Holt Harvey to manage the former sawmill site at Waikoau progress quickly.

The site was identified three weeks ago in a Ministry for the Environment report on potentially contaminated mill sites.

The Waikoau site, in parts, has highly toxic chemical residues present which can pose a health hazard.  The hazard arises where there is potential for the contaminants to move off the site and affect other property and people.  The Waikoau site is private land but is presently unfenced and near a road and a settlement, so there is a risk that people may be exposed to the chemicals if they inadvertently venture onto the site.

The Regional Council does, however, consider that the lack of any earthworks or other disturbances on the site is helping to keep it safer, as plant overgrowth can work to keep down dust and keep people out.

Regional Council staff, including Hazardous Substances advisor Fred King, have been in contact with Carter Holt Harvey personnel and have discussed a number of relatively straightforward measures to minimise any risks.

Capping (sealing off the surface), fencing boundaries, warning signage and a letter to local residents explaining the hazards have been recommended by the Regional Council.  As a follow up on these discussions, the Council is also in the process of issuing an Abatement Notice to reinforce with Carter Holt Harvey that the indicated works should be completed quickly.

Council officer Fred King has also been talking with local residents about the site, what action is being recommended and what they can do to reduce risks to their health.


ends

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