Judea industrial sites show low risk of stormwater contamination
Monday, 3 November 2014 10:00 a.m.
Recent audits of Judea Industrial sites has shown that most sites have a good understanding of stormwater issues and are taking steps to manage their environmental effects.
The Regional Council undertook stormwater pollution prevention audits of all Judea Industrial Estate businesses with Tauranga City Council’s Pollution Prevention officers in August to determine if contaminants were likely to pollute the harbour through stormwater runoff.
Regional Council Pollution Prevention Manager Nick Zaman told the Council’s Regional Direction and Delivery Committee meeting last week that the audits focused on all businesses in the estate where stormwater runoff entered the Kopurererua Stream, Waikareao Estuary and Tauranga Harbour. Stormwater was not treated before it was discharged.
A total of 157 street addresses, many with multiple business premises, were visited. Of these, 87 had a full stormwater audit, focused on industrial processes, outdoor activities and stormwater drainage discharges. The other addresses had a low risk of discharging contaminated stormwater due to the type of activities undertaken on the site.
One common issue was businesses that washed vehicles outside with wash water discharging directly to stormwater. Several businesses, including automotive wreckers, a concrete batching plant, some spray painters, sand blasting booths and automotive workshops already had Regional Council discharge consents.
In the 1950s the Judea Industrial Estate was already established on reclaimed swamp land, with several commercial timber mills. The estate now supports a wide variety of industries and stormwater from the estate has the potential to directly affect Tauranga Harbour’s water and sediment quality. The Judea audits were part of a region-wide Industrial Pollution Prevention Programme, now in its sixth year.
The Committee heard that all the businesses were given recommendations to reduce the potential for contaminant discharges, and some were required to take remedial action and report back to the Regional Council by the end of November. Only one business was likely to require a consent as a result of the audits.
Once the inspections were completed, solutions were discussed with managers and staff of businesses where issues were identified. Overall, potential issues were minor and would generally be easy for business owners to fix, he said.
They included a lack of spill response kits in some automotive workshops, storing fuels, oils and detergents outdoors, no bunded storage areas for hazardous chemicals, vehicle washdown areas draining to stormwater, wood or stone cutting and sanding outdoors with insufficient dust controls and a lack of trade waste connections and consents for process water discharge.
Businesses washing vehicles had been asked to not use detergents and wash on grassed areas, rather than paved areas which ran off into stormwater drains.
Followup visits are planned to ensure remedial measures have been implemented and are working.
Committee Chair Paula Thompson said it was gratifying to see that industrial premises in the city were aware that their activities had an effect on the harbour waters and were taking steps to ensure they did not contribute to pollution.