Sludge may be dumped in Hau­raki Gulf for 35 years

Weekend Herald - - News - Alison Smith

Hun­dreds of thou­sands of cu­bic me­tres of sludge from Auckland could be dumped at a site just out­side the Hau­raki Gulf marine park un­der a 35-year per­mit be­ing sought.

Coastal Re­sources Lim­ited is ap­ply­ing for con­sent to up the amount of “slops” to be dumped on the seafloor north of Repanga (Cu­vier Is­land) Na­ture Re­serve.

Although the ma­te­rial to be dumped was de­scribed as largely con­sist­ing of sand, gravel and clay, con­tam­i­nants would also be present at some level, an EPA re­port on the ap­pli­ca­tion said.

Some 250,000m3 per year from Auckland City in­fra­struc­ture spoils, mari­nas in Auckland and Waikato, Ports of Auckland dredg­ings and a pro­posed Amer­ica’s Cup vil­lage at Hob­sonville Pt would be dumped just out­side the 12 nau­ti­cal mile zone.

This by­passes the coun­try’s obli­ga­tions un­der an in­ter­na­tional pro­to­col to which New Zealand is a sig­na­tory, which the re­source con­sent ap­pli­ca­tion ac­knowl­edges.

The Lon­don Con­ven­tion de­manded all prac­ti­ca­ble steps were taken to pre­vent pol­lu­tion of the sea by dump­ing of wastes and other mat­ter.

The con­sent, if ap­proved, will re­place the cur­rent up­per limit of 50,000m3 from ex­ist­ing or pro­posed mari­nas in Auckland and Waikato each year un­der a con­sent due to ex­pire in 2032.

The dump site cov­ers about 7sq km and is around 25km east of Great Bar­rier Is­land and 22km north of Cu­vier Is­land, a cul­tur­ally sig­nif­i­cant site for found­ing tribes of the Te Arawa ca­noe.

“It’s be­ing turned into a rub­bish tip,” said Nga¯ti Hei’s Joe Davis.

CRL is part of Kaipara Ltd, whose spokes­woman said: “We have been ad­vised not to make com­ment on the ap­pli­ca­tion while it is go­ing through the con­sent process”.

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