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Kopeopeo Canal Contamination Remediation Project

Bay of Plenty Regional Council’s Technical Services group is working with the community to clean up dioxin-contaminated sediment in the Kopeopeo Canal. The contamination is a legacy issue that is associated with discharges from a former sawmill. 

The overall vision for the Kopeopeo Canal Remediation Project is:

”To safely remove and treat a legacy of industrial dioxin pollution, thereby restoring the mauri of the Kopeopeo Canal and the Whakatāne River and developing their full potential to contribute to the well-being of tangata whenua, the community and visitors for generations to come.”

Current project activity:

 canal from canoe

The latest Kopeopeo Canal Remediation newsletter is out now. You can read the latest newsletter and sign up to get them each month or so on the News and Events page. 

Draft minutes from the last Community Liaison Group (CLG) meeting are now available here.

The next CLG meeting will be held on 14 February 2017 from 10am. Please email kopeopeo@boprc.govt.nz to register your interest in attending.

            Joe Harawira

Kua mate a Joe Harawira – Passing of Joe Harawira

Joe has been an integral part of the Kopeopeo Project for many years and both personally and through SWAP, has been instrumental in seeing this Project come to fruition. His knowledge, wisdom, patience, commitment and sense of humour will be sadly missed by all of those who worked with him. 

Background Information

The project is designed to be implemented in a staged approach to remove, safely store and bioremediate up to 40,000m3 of sediment. Map showing sites (8,313 KB). Three separate sites are consented for the containment and bioremediation of sediment removed from the canal. 

The Kopeopeo Canal Remediation Project’s primary objectives are to address long-term health risk to the community associated with dioxin exposure, improve the quality of the aquatic habitat within the canal and wider drainage network and facilitate future drainage and flood relief within the Rangitaiki drainage scheme.  The current phase of the project follows almost 10 years of investigations, risk assessments, technical assessments and remediation options evaluations.

The consents granted for the project require the applicant to implement a significant number of control measures to mitigate potential effects and  undertake a rigorous monitoring regime to ensure that the control measures are performing adequately.  

Technological developments, which might better address concerns raised by community members about the methodology proposed to clean up the canal, led to an evaluation of an alternative extraction and transfer method to move sediment between the canal and the containment sites. A trial of the proposed method took place in late 2015, and a public open day was had many people through to see the dredging in action. Results of the trial proved very positive and feedback from the community indicated that the new methodology was the preferred option. A variation to the existing consents is being sought to allow the works to proceed in the 2016 construction season. 

The estimated cost of the project is $10.8 million and is equally funded by the Ministry for the Environment through the Contaminated Sites Remediation Fund (CSRF) and Bay of Plenty Regional Council.

Bay of Plenty Regional Council Technical Services Group is managing the project in partnership with representatives from the Whakatāne-Waimana Rivers Scheme Liaison Group, Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa, Sawmill Workers against Poisons and the Ministry for the Environment.