11 Jun 2009

Residents agree to avoid dioxin park

2:46 pm on 11 June 2009

A group in New Plymouth says residents have generally agreed to avoid the park where dioxin-contaminated agrichemicals have been found.

Stormwater works at Marfell Park unearthed remnants of nine old drums from the former Ivon Watkins Dow chemical plant in nearby Paritutu.

Tests identified herbicide ingredients and one sample had very high levels of dioxin.

The diggings are covered with fresh soil and Taranaki Regional Council says the park, which used to be a rubbish dump, poses no risk.

However, locals say they are worried about rubbish that continues to surface and have tried to close the park down.

Mark Smith, who has been leading the attempt, says he and about a dozen others door-knocked residents around the park on Wednesday night.

They suggested residents avoid the park until proper chemical tests have been done.

Mr Smith says the response has been good and when he went by the park on Thursday morning schoolchildren were walking around it.

He says he wants surface soil testing and dioxin tests for local people if risks are indicated.