29 Jul 2008

Report critical of Mapua toxic site clean-up

4:32 pm on 29 July 2008

An investigation into the clean-up of a contaminated chemical site at Mapua says the process was flawed and suggests it may have been preferable to have sealed the site.

Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment Jan Wright says the soil clean-up appears to have worked, though parts of the operation were not well run and may have led to the discharge of some dioxins and toxins.

Dr Wright says more soil tests are needed to determine the mercury level at the former Fruitgrowers Chemical Company site at Mapua, near Nelson.

The area was contaminated with DDT, dieldrin and other toxic waste.

Dr Wright says it may have been preferable to have sealed the site than to have tried to clean it up.

The work took nearly four years and cost $8 million. The report was expected more than a year ago.

Dr Wright says the community faces no immediate dangers from the site, although mercury levels should be tested before any building takes place there.