The Government will provide $237,500 towards further soil testing in the Thames suburb of Moanataiari, Environment Minister Nick Smith announced today.
Moanataiari is built on land reclaimed from the Firth of Thames. The area was filled with mine tailings, mine waste, and clean fill subdivided in the 1960s and houses built in the 1970s. Last week Moanataiari residents were advised that soil testing of roadside verges had identified elevated levels of arsenic. There are 212 houses, a school and a childcare facility in the suburb.
“People need to know if the soil on their properties is contaminated or not which is why the Environment Ministry has urgently approved an application from the Waikato Regional Council lodged last Wednesday for funding to test the soil,” Dr Smith said.
“The Ministry for the Environment’s Contaminated Sites Remediation Fund will pay 50% of the cost to test individual properties. The remainder of the money needed will come equally from the Waikato Regional Council and Thames-Coromandel District Council.”
Soil from the Moanataiari School vegetable garden has now been replaced with uncontaminated soil. Parking areas near the childcare centre have been sealed to reduce dust, and soil piled up by residents has also been removed.
“I commend the local councils for acting quickly and taking steps to reduce residents’ concerns. While we wait for the results from the testing of individual properties, residents should continue to take the advice provided by health officials,” Dr Smith said.