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Kopeopeo Canal Contamination Remediation Project

Bay of Plenty Regional Council is working with the community to clean up dioxin contamination of the sediment in the Kopeopeo Canal.  The canal was contaminated in the 1950s to late 1980s as a result of stormwater from the local sawmill which treated timber using Pentachlorophenol  (PCP). The PCP contained dioxins as an impurity.

As owners of the Kopeopeo Canal, Council has a statutory and regulatory responsibility  to manage contaminated lands and protect the community and the environment. 

The Kopeopeo Canal Contamination Remediation project will use a staged approach to remove and safely store and bioremediate the contaminated sediment from the canal. A Project Steering Group has been set up to guide the project.  It consists of representatives from Ngāti Awa, Sawmill Workers Against Poisons (SWAP), Whakatane Waimana Rivers Scheme Liaison Group, Ministry for the Environment and Bay of Plenty Regional Council.    

We intend to use three separate sites for the bioremediation of the sediment removed from the canal. Up to 40,000 cubic metres of sediment will be removed. Map showing sites (8,313 KB).

Monitoring the Kopeopeo Canal will continue for several years after the contaminated sediment has been removed. The eels will be monitored annually until the Medical Officer of Health confirms they are safe to eat. We don't expect eel harvesting to be safe for two to five years.

The estimated cost of the project is $4.4 million, equally funded by the Ministry for the Environment through the Contaminated Sites Remediation Fund (CSRF) and Bay of Plenty Regional Council.

You can read more about the results of a smaller-scale project of this kind recently completed at the Omokoroa Boatyard.

For more information check out frequently asked questions (24KB) or contact us.




Latest news

On 13 November 2014, the Environment Court accepted settlement of the appeal against the consents for the Kopeopeo Canal Remediation Project following a short hearing in Mount Maunganui. 

You can read the full media release about the decision.

In due course the project will be appointing a Cultural Monitor, an Independent Monitor and Engineer to Contract.  It will also set up a community liaison group to keep the community fully informed of project progress.

Timeline of activities

In March 2013, Regional Council made a resource consent application which was publicly notified and open to submissions.

Bay of Plenty Regional Council's Natural Hazards group, as the applicant, analysed submissions and met with submitters to clarify specific submission points or explain their response.

The consent authority reviewed the submissions received and determined they require further information from the applicant. This additional information was submitted to the consent authority on 21 October 2013. A summary of this additional information is outlined below. A copy of the evidence was sent to all submitters who wished to be heard on 2 December 2013.

The RMA hearing on the consent application took place from 16-20 December 2013, heard by four independent commissioners. 

The Commissioners considered the evidence presented and, in February 2014, advised that the application for resource consent had been successful subject to significant conditions.

This decision was appealed on 11 March 2014.

A pre-hearing conference was held in May 2014. Both parties worked towards a resolution.

The delays due to the resolution of the appeal led to funding estimates for the project being adjusted based on requirements of the consent conditions and revised timelines.

A request to modify the deed of funding was submitted to  Ministry for the Environment and the Minister announced funding from the Contaminated Sites Remediation Programme in August 2014.

Regional council funding adjustments were made in the 2014/15 Annual Plan approved by Council in June and further funding has been programmed into the 2015-2025 Long Term Plan.

Brendon Love was appointed as Project Manager.  Brendon has 24 years’ experience in contaminated site investigations and remediation and has worked as project manager on other MfE funded contaminated site remediation works.  He comes to the project from Golder Associates (NZ) Limited where he previously held the role of Principal Contaminated Site Consultant and National Team Leader of Golder’s site investigation, remediation and auditing group.

For more information, please contact us - details below.