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Welcome contribution to Kopeopeo Canal cleanup

Tuesday, 11 June 2013 9:00 a.m.

Additional Government funding to clean up the Kopeopeo Canal near Whakatāne is a welcome contribution, Bay of Plenty Regional Council says.

Environment Minister Amy Adams announced last week that the Government had committed an extra $880,000 to clean up the canal, in addition to the $1.5 million invested by the Government in 2011.

Regional Council General Natural Hazards Ken Tarboton said the extra funding is welcomed as cost estimates had increased to clean up the canal as the project has progressed. 

“The increases are a result of further refining detail around methodology and controls for extracting the sediment. We have been listening to what the public has had to say during the resource consent consultation process, and looking at further controls necessary to ensure that the risk to the public is minimal.”  

The Regional Council has applied for resource consent to remove and clean up sediment contaminated with dioxins from the canal. It is working with the community on the project, and has proposed using a staged approach to remove, safely store and clean up the contaminated sediment using bioremediation. The method breaks down contaminants using a combination of fungi, bacteria and plants to degrade dioxin.

Surface run-off and stormwater containing Pentachlorophenol (PCP) and dioxins from the NZ Forest Products Ltd sawmill was discharged into the canal between 1950 and 1989. PCP was used as a wood preservative to treat timber contained dioxins that can harm human health.

The project is expected to cost $4.4 million, funded by the Ministry for the Environment through the Contaminated Sites Remediation Fund (CSRF) and the Regional Council. The Contaminated Sites Remediation Fund provides money for the investigation, remedial planning and remediation of sites that pose a risk to human health and the environment.

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Kopeopeo Canal