Sludge may be dumped in Hauraki Gulf for 35 years
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”.