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Submissions open on Kopeopeo Canal clean up


Submissions open on Kopeopeo Canal clean up

Bay of Plenty Regional Council has applied for resource consent to remove and clean up sediment contaminated with dioxins from the Kopeopeo Canal near Whakatane.

The Regional Council is working with the community on the project, using a staged approach to remove, safely store and clean up the contaminated sediment using bioremediation. The method breaks down contaminants using a combination of fungi, bacteria and plants to degrade dioxin.

Public submissions on the application close on Thursday 9 May 2013. If consent is granted, sediment transfer is scheduled to begin in October 2013. Excavation and transfer of the sediment is expected to take six months, and then bioremediation to treat the sediment begins.

Surface run-off and stormwater containing Pentachlorophenol (PCP) and dioxins from the NZ Forest Products Ltd sawmill was discharged into the canal between 1950 and 1989. PCP was used as a wood preservative to treat timber contained dioxins that can harm human health.

Regional Council Pollution Prevention Manager Nick Zaman said the Steering Group managing the project included representatives from Ngāti Awa, Sawmill Workers Against Poisons (SWAP), Whakatane Waimana Rivers Scheme Liaison Group, Ministry for the Environment and the Regional Council.

“We intend to use three separate sites for bioremediation of up to 40,000 cubic metres of sediment removed from the canal,” he said. “We have completed the planning and design phase of the project, and the resource consent application is now open for submissions.”

“Monitoring of the Canal will continue for several years after the contaminated sediment has been removed. Eels will be monitored annually until the Medical Officer of Health confirms they are safe to eat, but we don't expect eel harvesting to be safe for two to five years.”

The project is expected to cost $4.4 million, equally funded by the Ministry for the Environment through the Contaminated Sites Remediation Fund (CSRF) and Bay of Plenty Regional Council.

The Regional Council will have two open days later this month to provide information about the project. The sessions will be held at Te Kura o Te Paroa staffroom, Paroa Rd, Whakatane from 2pm until 6.30pm on Tuesday 23 April, and at Rangitaiki Independent School from 2pm until 6.30pm on Wednesday 24 April.

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