31 Jul 2009

Country's most toxic site finally gets the all-clear

10:16 pm on 31 July 2009

Environment Minister Nick Smith has told people who live near a cleaned-up toxic site that it now poses no health risks.

An audit by the Ministry for the Environment has given the all-clear for residential, commercial and open-space development of the former Fruitgrowers Chemical Company site at Mapua, west of Nelson, after a three-year clean-up.

The report says however that soil and groundwater monitoring is still needed as a safeguard.

At a meeting in Mapua on Friday afternoon Dr Smith said the clean-up has provided valuable lessons on how to deal with other toxic sites around the country.

Nonetheless, concerns remain about the possibility of contamination from chemical residues.

The clean-up has been dogged for years by controversy over its adequacy and the possible extent of contamination from the time when the plant, which closed in 1988, produced pesticides.