Omokoroa Boatyard project
The former Ōmokoroa Boatyard site was used for boat maintenance activities from the 1960’s until 2010. As a result of these activities the site surface soils and the soil on an adjacent portion of recreational reserve land owned by Western Bay of Plenty became contaminated.
This contamination presented a risk to human health and the environment due to its close proximity to public recreational areas and the Tauranga Harbour. The site also adjoins a historic reserve and was widely used by the public as an access point to the Ōmokoroa Peninsula and as a walkway alongside the Harbour.
Regional Council managed the investigation, delineation and remediation planning for the project to successfully clean up this contaminated site and provide a healthy, well-utilised and attractive public space for generations to come.
The project took several years of planning and negotiation with landowners and other stakeholders before finally going ahead.
The project was completed within a very narrow ‘weather window’ and all works were undertaken on time and under budget.
The contractors that carried out the work included Fulton Hogan Limited (environmental controls, earthworks including transportation of the soil to landfill, and site restoration), and Golder Associates (environmental data collection and validation reporting).
The photos shown below taken before, and after, the clean up illustrate the results of the work. The Harbour side of the site has also opened up the area for use by local residents and increased recreational use by the community. A clear benefit not illustrate in the photos is the removal of a potential source of contamination from kai moana and the marine environment.
About the Ōmokoroa Boatyard site
The Ōmokoroa boatyard is located outside Tauranga, at 34 Harbour View Road, on the Ōmokoroa Peninsula. It is a privately-owned coastal site, south of the Gerald Crapp Historic Reserve.
For several decades, the site was used for boat storage and maintenance. Part of the original boatyard site, on the harbour side, a strip of land was vested in Western Bay of Plenty District Council as an esplanade reserve.
Due to many years of use as a boat maintenance yard, contaminants were found in the soils on the site. Old paint that was scraped off boats resulted in lead, arsenic and copper being present in the site's soil at higher than recommended levels. Over a long period of exposure, these contaminants have the potential to be harmful to humans or to the environment and can wash into the estuary during times of heavy rainfall.
About the clean-up process
It is the job of regional councils, on behalf of central government, to control discharges to the environment and also to monitor for any adverse effects that could impact human health and/or the wider environment. We have national standards, the National Environmental Standard (NES) for assessing and managing contaminants in soils.
As a regional council, we were required to make sure the site fits within the regulations set out in the NES and the Resource Management Act (RMA). In 2011, Council started the process of planning for the removal of contaminated soil from the site and providing a green-space reserve for the use of the public alongside the Harbour.
Following the placement of environmental control and security measures to ensure that the works did not result in any discharges beyond the site, the boat cradle rails, cradles and concrete support structures were removed, cleaned and transported away for off-site disposal.
The contractors then removed an initial surface layer of soil across the boatyard site which was tested for contaminants before being taken to a lined, Class A landfill at Tirohia, south of Paeroa. In some places on the site, deeper soil was also removed to a depth where tests showed that it met the required human health based soil quality standards.
Imported soil, tested and also free of contaminants, was brought in in to return the site to about the original level. The site was then mulched and sown with new grass.
Physical works were carried out in a short four-week period in June/July 2012 and the site was opened later that year when soil was stabilised by new grass growth.
Funding for the project
The costs of this project were shared between the Ministry for the Environment, Western Bay of Plenty District Council and the boatyard site landowner.
The Ministry for the Environment is funding its part of the project through its Contaminated Sites Remediation Fund (CSRF), a special fund set up to help regional councils and landowners work together to restore properties that meet certain criteria.
One of the requirements in obtaining funding from central government was that this site not be re-contaminated. If any boat maintenance is carried out at the site in future, it is to be carried out on the condition that no new contamination occurs. This means full containment of any dust and no run-off to ground. Before