ACCforum: Probe into claim 245T under lake - ACCforum

Jump to content

Page 1 of 1
  • You cannot start a new topic
  • You cannot reply to this topic

Probe into claim 245T under lake

#1 User is offline   sandman 

  • Newbie
  • Pip
  • Group: Members
  • Posts: 9
  • Joined: 09-May 11

Posted 02 June 2011 - 01:14 AM

Last updated 05:00 24/05/2011
Share
Print
Text Size
Relevant offers

Environment Canterbury (ECan) is investigating claims that drums filled with toxic chemicals are buried underneath Opuha Dam's lake, near Fairlie.

A man who worked on the dam's construction in 1994 told ECan last week that chemical drums and containers were buried at four sites.

It was alleged some of the drums contained 245T, a dioxin-contaminated herbicide used to make Agent Orange.

ECan environmental protection manager Brett Aldridge said the claims were being treated "very seriously".

Water quality testing was being done on the lake bed near the 50-metre-high dam, where the chemical drums were allegedly buried, he said.

Geophysical equipment would be used to locate any metal drums, and fish from the Opihi River would be analysed for toxicity.

Mackenzie District Mayor Claire Barlow said if the claims proved true, they represented "a serious environmental threat".

The Timaru District Council, which takes drinking water for parts of Timaru from an aquifer below the dam, has sought advice from the medical officer of health.

Aldridge said the former worker, who had signed an affidavit over his claims, showed ECan staff last week where he believed the drums were buried beneath the 700-hectare lake.

"Our first port of call is to corroborate what this guy's saying," Aldridge said.

"We've spoken to one other person who was also involved and, at this stage, he's said he can't recall anything like that ever happening."

Opuha Dam chief executive Tony McCormick said the company had not seen the affidavit.

"It would appear that what we're dealing with is an issue that was, it's probably fair to say, common practice at the time," he said.

"For many, I think it's fair to say it was probably not uncommon practice for a lot of these chemicals to end up in offal pits or such like."

Five farms were thought to have been bought so the dam could be built and the lake formed.

The claims emerged in a story in the Straight Furrow newspaper published online yesterday.

The story said the claim was supported by an affidavit from a man who worked on the $27 million dam for six weeks in 1994 and a photo supplied by another person.

The man, who was not named, told the weekly rural newspaper he was told to keep quiet at the time but it had gnawed away at him over the years.

Soil & Health Association spokesman Steffan Browning said if drums of agricultural chemicals were buried under the lake, they should be extracted.

"To have 245T lurking there for an unknown period of time until it somehow gets out, certainly is concerning."
Ad Feedback

The partially built dam collapsed in 1997, a year before it was opened, killing more than 1000 animals.

In 2008, it won the supreme award at ECan's Resource Management Awards.

Anglers this year blamed the dam for a growth in toxic algae in the Opihi River and formed the Opihi Catchment and Environment Protection Society.

New Zealand was one of the last countries in the world producing 245T when it was banned in 1987, and this country's farmers were among the world's biggest users.

- The Press
0

#2 User is offline   sandman 

  • Newbie
  • Pip
  • Group: Members
  • Posts: 9
  • Joined: 09-May 11

Posted 10 June 2011 - 07:00 PM

Toxic dump claim draws a blank
MATTHEW LITTLEWOOD
Last updated 05:00 09/06/2011
Share
Print
Text Size
0 comments
Relevant offers

Early investigations into alleged toxic dumping at the Opuha Dam have drawn a blank.

The probe began after a contractor swore an affidavit saying that while working at the dam site for six weeks in 1994, he witnessed the dumping of chemical containers containing 245T in offal pits on the floor of the dam.

Environment Canterbury has been investigating the claim during the past fortnight. However, its director of investigations and monitoring, Ken Taylor, said that so far there had been no evidence to substantiate the claim.

"Our investigation is four-pronged and we have done two of those prongs," Mr Taylor said.

"We have interviewed about 16 people, including locals involved in the dam-building project, as well as people who fish in the area and farmers. We have also undertaken water and sediment sampling, as well as sending off tissue samples of fish and eels."

Mr Taylor said Environment Canterbury was awaiting the results of water, sediment and fish tissue samples, but none of the 16 people spoken to could corroborate the man's claim. "So far, we appear to have drawn a blank. There are at least another two lines of inquiry to go, which include the geophysical assessment, so we have to keep an open mind."

Mr Taylor said the preliminary results of the geophysical survey of the lake site showed no indication of a buried dump in the area identified.

The complainant, who has declined to be named, approached a member of the Opihi Catchment Environmental Protection Society. The society was set up in response to growing concerns from locals about a decline in water quality and the environmental health of the catchment.

Tom Henderson, one of the key forces behind the Opuha dam's development, has said he is "bemused" by the claim – not least because construction of the dam did not begin until 1995.

However, Mr Taylor said the date discrepancy was treated as a side issue. "We have to work on the assumption that he saw what he said he saw," he said.

Society spokeswoman Sandra Finnie, who published the man's claim in an article in rural publication Straight Furrow, said she was pleased there had so far been no evidence of toxic dumping at the site. "That is the greatest possible news. Environment Canterbury have done everything right in treating the claims with utmost seriousness. If there was any truth to [the man's claims], the implications could be horrendous."

Mr Taylor said it could be another two to three weeks before the sampling results came back. His agency would continue to share information with Timaru and Mackenzie district councils and Community and Public Health.
Ad Feedback

- The Timaru Herald
0

#3 User is offline   not their victim 

  • Advanced Member
  • PipPipPip
  • Group: Members
  • Posts: 10829
  • Joined: 04-August 08

Posted 10 June 2011 - 09:41 PM

so much for clean green NZ.....

I hope there is no actual poison infiltrating the water system,,,


at least we dont live in Mogadishu...where all of Europes nuclear waste is actually under their main highway!

and the female reporter who leaked this to the world, and her cameraman were shot and killed on camera!

fotunately, they got the film out to their employers before they were killed. sad...
1

#4 User is offline   sandman 

  • Newbie
  • Pip
  • Group: Members
  • Posts: 9
  • Joined: 09-May 11

Posted 15 June 2011 - 07:57 PM

Contaminated Land

It’s thought that there are at least 20,000 contaminated sites in New Zealand including former gasworks, timber and agriculture sites. The location of most of them is kept from the public. We think the true number of sites is higher than this, see the quote below about 50,000 sites contaminated by sheep dips.

4000 potentially contaminated properties in the Canterbury and Tasman districts will not be revealed in a public register, despite a ruling by the Office of the Ombudsmen to do so. Tasman refused to release its list of 850 sites and ECan said it would release its list of 3400 potentially contaminated properties only if applicants paid a fee and signed a memorandum of understanding. source

“There’s a tension here between the public’s right to know and our need to manage the information in a sensitive way. Information about private land can have a significant commercial impact on that owner,” ECan director of monitoring and investigations Ken Taylor said.”

“Historical use of arsenic based pesticides in sheep-dips has resulted in an estimated 50,000 sites contaminated with arsenic and persistent organic pollutants such as dieldrin. Urbanisation of agricultural land has resulted in the belated discovery of arsenic-contaminated residential soils. As well, past pesticide practices in agriculture and horticulture employed arsenic-based compounds. Recent sampling of previously productive soils has uncovered high levels of arsenic in some soils.”

Soils associated with the production and use of Copper-Chromium-Arsenic (CCA) treated timber also exhibit elevated arsenic concentrations. Wood-waste and timber-treatment sites often contain arsenic hot spots that present a risk to groundwater. The extensive use of CCA-treated posts in agricultural and horticultural systems might lead to the long-term arsenic contamination of New Zealand’s productive soils…” source

Hundreds of hectares of land are polluted with toxic chemicals left behind after years of intensive fruit growing, chemical use and/or manufacture (Agent Orange, wood preservatives, heavy metals etc) Over time, as the use of orchards declined, the land was often sold on for residential housing development. Many homeowners are unaware that their houses are built on contaminated land. Councils are very reluctant to release information as it will have a negative impact on land values and there could be massive bills for remediation work and difficulties in disposing of the waste materials.

Environment Canterbury (ECan) is investigating claims that drums filled with toxic chemicals are buried underneath Opuha Dam’s lake, near Fairlie. It was alleged some of the drums contained 245T, a dioxin-contaminated herbicide used to make Agent Orange. It seems these drums were dumped in 1994, and the practice of dumping chemicals was widespread at the time. source (thank you to our reader Moonlight)

New Zealand was one of the last countries in the world producing 245T when it was banned in 1987, and its country’s farmers were among the world’s biggest users.

Drums of toxic chemicals were recently discovered beneath a children’s playground in Marfell, the site of New Plymouth’s former city refuse dump. The chemicals were tetrachlorobenzene and trichlorophenol, both used in the manufacture of herbicides.

Ivon Watkins Dow (now named Dow Agro Sciences)manufactured herbicides ’24D’ and ’245T’, used in equal part in the manufacture of the defoliant Agent Orange, at its Paritutu plant for use in the Vietman war. The dioxin contaminant TCDD within ’245T’ is considered to be highly toxic to humans. Exposure to dioxins is alleged to have resulted in an estimated 10% increase in cancer deaths in the New Plymouth area.

Over a 30 year time span 20 million litres of the 2 herbicides were sprayed in New Zealand to control gorse and other weeds. The NZ government was said to have subsidised the use of the herbicides and 245T was both produced and used in NZ long after other countries had banned them. Production in the USA ceased in 1979 but continued in New Plymouth until 1987

http://emigratetonew...en-credentials/
0

Share this topic:


Page 1 of 1
  • You cannot start a new topic
  • You cannot reply to this topic

1 User(s) are reading this topic
0 members, 1 guests, 0 anonymous users