ENVIRONMENT

Audit report step forward for Mapua

Saturday 1 August 2009, 5:46PM
By Nick Smith
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MAPUA

The audit report on the remediation of the former Fruitgrowers Chemical Company site in Mapua has confirmed the land is now fit for residential, commercial and open space use – subject to certain conditions.


The report by consultants Pattle Delamore Partners Ltd was released today by Environment Minister Nick Smith at a public meeting in Mapua.


“The report is good news for the community of Mapua as it confirms that after two decades of debate and disruption and $12 million of work, the site is safe and fit for purpose,” Dr Smith said.


”This land is not perfect and never will be but it is a vast improvement from being the worst contaminated site in the country. The community can now get on and use this land subject to on-going monitoring.


“The Environment Ministry has carefully considered the audit report and will be fully implementing its recommendations. The Government has agreed to contribute a further $455,000 to meet the on-going monitoring requirements.


“The remaining unfinished business from the clean up is the health report on the impacts on staff and others closely associated with the soil treatment process. I am disappointed this report is incomplete due to public health staff being diverted by the challenges of Swine Flu but I have been assured this report will be completed by the end of August.


“The clean up of this site has been a steep learning curve. The Government acknowledges errors have been made as identified in the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment’s report last year.


“Significant changes in law and practice are being made in response to problems at Mapua. The Resource Management Act is being amended so if a Government agency breaches a consent, it will be able to be prosecuted from 1 October by a council like anyone else.


“Secondly, the Ministry for the Environment will not take operational and project management responsibility for a clean up of any future contaminated site but instead contract this to properly qualified firms.


“The most important lesson from Mapua is that prevention is always better than the cure. Now and in the future we must take a far more cautious approach to the management of dangerous chemicals.”

 


For a copy of the site audit report on Mapua, go to:


http://www.mfe.govt.nz/publications/hazardous/audit-remediation-mapua/index.html