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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.”

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.  

Concerns raised by community members have led to an evaluation of an alternative extraction and transfer method between the canal and the containment sites. Trials for this method are proposed to occur during July 2015, with the results being made available to the community to receive feedback on the trials in September 2015.

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.


Find out about the project’s history here.

Read the latest news about the project here  

For more information please contact us.