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Govt Releases Draft Contamination Standards

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Nick Smith
Nick Smith

Wellington, Feb 5 NZPA - New draft standards for assessing and managing contaminated soil were released today and Environment Minister Nick Smith says they're needed to help councils deal with problem sites.

"The past use of chemicals or hazardous substances in industry, agriculture and horticulture has left a legacy of soil contamination," Dr Smith said.

"Soil contamination in New Zealand is not as serious a problem as in many other industrialised countries but we do have sites that pose risks to public and environmental health."

Dr Smith said the track record of dealing with these problems at places such as Mapua and Waiwhetu Stream was chequered.

"Councils need greater guidance from government to assist them and that is what the National Environmental Standard is all about."

He said the standards would provide clear guidance to councils on the appropriate use of land depending on the soil contamination.

Affected properties should only be regarded as safe for use if they had been systematically identified, assessed, and if necessary cleaned up.

The standards also define the level of concentrations at which the risk to human health is considered acceptable.

A 10-week consultation on the draft standards begins tomorrow.

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