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Cut- Price Deal for Asbestos Material Carries Risk

Cut- Price Deal for Asbestos Material Carries Risk

New Zealand First is dismayed that Christchurch City Council-owned company City Care has done a cut-price deal to transport hundreds of thousands of tonnes of asbestos-contaminated waste to a sub-standard dump in Southland.

“This potentially dangerous material will be carried in open wagons for 600 kilometres and it will be dumped in an unsophisticated landfill close to Invercargill homes,” says spokesperson for Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Denis O’Rourke.

“City Care, Toll, and Asbestos Removals Ltd have done a deal with Timpany Landfill in Invercargill which has cut its price on the promise of receiving a huge volume of hazardous waste.

“It has slashed its dumping fees from $100 per tonne to $40 a tonne,” says Mr O’Rourke. “Kate Valley, north of Christchurch, charges $232 per tonne, including the cost of transport, and special management and safety measures.

“If the costs of those protections were added to the $150 rail cost to Invercargill and Timpany’s $40 charge, then the possible saving for City Care would be minimal.

“Should there be a derailment, as occurred two months ago near Palmerston, waste could be spilled for kilometres. Christchurch ratepayers will then have to help City Care pay the bill for a clean-up, which could cost tens of millions of dollars.

“There is a big risk that asbestos-contaminated dust could be blown across the countryside from the cheap open top wagons or from an accident site.

“Invercargill residents and the residents of enroute towns should be concerned that this material will be dumped without adequate protection measures.

“While the dump is apparently applying for the necessary permits, it is not a sophisticated landfill compared with the Class A landfill at Kate Valley.

“Canterbury councils went to great lengths to establish Kate Valley so that hazardous waste was not carried long distances and could be safely disposed of.

“The Christchurch City Council should rein in City Care and instruct it to use the trucks specifically designed to take waste to Kate Valley. They use sealed and certified containers which are leak proof, and have a maximum load of 28 tonnes, so an accident would be easily cleaned up. A rail accident could involve several hundred tonnes of waste.

“The public interest and not company profits need to come first,” says Mr O’Rourke.


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