Contaminated sites in Northland, Dunedin and Southland are set to be cleaned up, with funding announced through the Contaminated Sites Remediation Fund today.
Environment Minister, David Parker said the funding would turn the previously hazardous sites into safe, usable public areas.
“Supporting remediation investigations moves us closer to removing risks from hazardous materials so we can ensure New Zealanders live in a clean, safe environment,” Mr Parker said.
Conservation Minister, Kiri Allan said the Northland Regional Council and the Department of Conservation will receive $150,950 to investigate the contamination of the Puhipuhi Mercury Mine site (pictured) in Northland, north of Whangarei.
“The failed attempt to profitably mine mercury between 1910 and 1945 left us with contaminated soil and waterways,” she said.
“This investigation will take us one step closer to cleaning up the site and returning it to a safe space that everyone can enjoy.”
Funding the investigation affirms Aotearoa New Zealand’s commitment to working towards ratification of the Minamata Convention on Mercury which protects people and the environment from harmful exposure to mercury.
In Dunedin, the Otago Regional Council has received $200,000 to complete a feasibility assessment and develop a remedial action plan for the tar well area of the former Gasworks site in South Dunedin.
The storage and disposal of gasworks waste between 1862 and 1987 contaminated the site.
“The wider Gasworks site has already been remediated so this project will look specifically at the tar well, which is expected to contain approximately 1,400 m3 of tar and tar-contaminated water,” Mr Parker said.
“A robust remediation plan will help ensure hazardous waste can be removed and the health of the community protected.”
The Southland Regional Council and the Department of Conservation have been granted $35,000 to complete an investigation of the landfill at the Little Tahiti site in Fiordland.
An initial investigation in 2013 confirmed there was waste over large areas of the Little Tahiti site, near Milford Sound, and found a range of contaminants including heavy metals, pesticides and asbestos from the dumping of waste during the construction of access roads.
“This funding will determine the extent of contamination so we can take steps to protect the area and prevent further damage to this iconic and popular tourist site,” Minister Parker said.