15 December 2016

With the appointment of a contractor to the Kopeopeo Remediation Project, physical works look set to start in the coming months.

The Kopeopeo Canal Remediation project, co-funded by the Ministry for the Environment through the Contaminated Sites Remediation Fund (CSRF) will use a staged approach to remove, safely store and treat up to 40,000m3 of sediment from the Canal.

A consortium headed by EnviroWaste Services Limited has been awarded the contract for the removal of the sediment from a 5.1km section of the Kopeopeo Canal. EnviroWaste will lead the contract and will be supported by a range of technical and specialist companies, with civil works carried out by local company Waiotahi Contractors. The project team are very confident in this team’s ability to deliver the physical works following their involvement in the dredging trial carried out last year.

Last month, variation to the consent was granted to allow the sediment to be removed using a cutter-suction dredge and transferred by pipeline to the containment sites. This new method was a response to concerns from the community about the risks of transporting partially de-watered sediment to the containment sites with trucks (the originally consented method).

With the consent now in place and the contract awarded, Project Manager, Brendon Love, said that the community could expect to see works begin in the near future.

“There will be a period of a few weeks while the contractor makes sure that all the paperwork is in place. There are significant conditions attached to the consent to cover monitoring, flood management, site management and final design documentation prior to construction. So it will take a bit of time for EnviroWaste to ensure they have all the necessary plans and procedures in place before construction starts. But we expect to be able to start building a containment cell in January and then start dredging the first of the sediment out of the Canal in the first quarter of 2017.

“It has been a significant process to date and I would like to thank in particular the Community Liaison Group and the Piripai Lands Trust, on whose land the first containment site will be constructed under the new methodology,” Mr Love said.

Auckland-based company, EnviroWaste, has significant experience in contaminated site remediation and large scale dredging contracts, which are both key aspects of the Canal remediation project. EnviroWaste has a proven track record in completing remediation projects on time, within budget, and most importantly safely.

EnviroWaste Services General Manager (Technical Services), Wayne Plummer, was pleased with the appointment and is looking forward to starting the works.

 “This is a significant and complex project and the team is looking forward to commencing the job after many months of planning, which culminated in us being awarded the contract. It is exciting to be involved in a project which will have such a positive outcome for the community. We appreciate that the level of community interest will be high and we are open to talking through what we are doing at each stage.

“We are presenting at the next CLG [Community Liaison Group meeting] to explain what we will be doing and how each stage of the project will work. I expect it will be a good opportunity for people to ask questions and learn how this project be undertaken in real life,” Mr Plummer said.

The next meeting is scheduled for February 2017. 

Brendon Love agreed and said that it was satisfying to be seeing progress in and around the Canal.

“I think it is an exciting time for many people in the community that have been working hard to get this Canal cleaned up. We have an incredibly hard-working group that come to the CLG meetings and have been through so much of the planning process with us.  We also have landowners of Containment Site 2 (CS2) who are making a significant contribution to the clean-up programme so that we leave a better environment to future generations than we inherited.

“We have been talking about this project on paper for years now. I know that there was some community concern with the old method and while it has taken a considerable effort to trial a new method and vary the consents, I believe that hard work is finally paying off. We now have a method that meets both the project and community needs and finally we can start to see this contamination taken out of our Canal and safely stored and treated,” Mr Love said.


The Bay of Plenty Regional Council (Rivers and Drainage Group) is working with the community to clean up dioxin-contaminated sediment in the Kopeopeo Canal. The canal was contaminated between the 1950s and late 1980s as a result of stormwater discharges from a former sawmill, which treated timber using Pentachlorophenol (PCP). While unknown at the time, PCP imported into New Zealand for use in the timber processing industry also included a percentage of impurities that contained dioxins.

The project will take a staged approach to remove, safely store and treat up to 40,000m3 of sediment.

Consent was granted for works to begin in 2014, subject to significant conditions. The community raised a number of concerns about the original methodology (excavators and trucks) for removal of the sediment. Following a successful pilot study of a new method in October 2015, an application was lodged in May 2016 to vary the existing consent so that the sediment could be removed by a cutter suction dredge and transferred by pipeline to the containment sites. This new method virtually eliminates the heavy traffic and potential for spillages and associated dust generation, and brings improvements to the containment site design which reduces potential groundwater and flooding related effects.  

The variation to the consent was approved in October 2016.

For more information visit www.boprc.govt.nz/kopeopeo