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Government money to clean up waterways

8 March 2006

Government money to clean up waterways

More than $150,000 of government funding will go to regional councils to clean up a contaminated stream, a canal and seabed sediments, Environment Minister David Benson-Pope announced today.

“New Zealand’s natural environment is part of our national identity and it is important it can be appreciated. Cleaning up these sites is also important from a health perspective as they pose a known or potential risk to human health and the environment,” Mr Benson-Pope said.

“These are excellent examples of local and central government working together to make a real difference to the environment and local communities.”

The government’s contribution comes from the Ministry for the Environment’s Contaminated Sites Remediation Fund with additional funding from the local councils involved.

Environment Bay of Plenty will receive $104,344 to work towards cleaning up the Kopeopeo Canal, near Whakatane. Historical activities nearby have contaminated the canal sediments and aquatic life. The grant covers 70 per cent of the cost of the project, with the remainder coming from Environment Bay of Plenty.

Greater Wellington Regional Council will receive $28,500 to test a soil decontaminating technique called electrokinetic remediation. The technique will be used on polluted stream sediments from the Waiwhetu Stream in Seaview, Lower Hutt. Electrokinetic remediation passes small electric currents through the soil to remove heavy metals and organic contaminants.

The council had been allocated earlier grants to help plan the clean-up of the stream bed. The grant covers 50 per cent of the costs of the project, with Greater Wellington Regional Council and Hutt City Council contributing the remainder.

Auckland Regional Council will receive $26,550 to investigate contaminants in the Waitemata Harbour seabed near Devonport. The sediment around the dry dock at the Devonport Naval Base has been contaminated by a number of chemicals associated with historical ship hull-cleaning and anti-fouling work.

Mr Benson-Pope says the clean up of the most contaminated site in New Zealand at Mapua is an example of the government’s success so far in identifying and acting on this issue.

“The government has recognised this problem and is putting a substantial amount of funding into cleaning up the waterways so we are not only looking out for the well-being of the environment, but we are also focusing on the health of our communities.”

ENDS

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