Council to determine Edendale chemical hazard

BRIDGET RAILTON
Last updated 05:00 13/08/2014

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Environment Southland is trying to determine the hazard and spread of a dangerous chemical deposited at an Edendale gravel pit.

Invercargill fertiliser company Taha Fertiliser Industries Ltd and aluminium processing company Taha Asia Pacific Ltd have been ordered by the Environment Court to stop disposing of aluminium dross, a noxious chemical, at the Crawford Enterprises gravel pit in Coalpit Rd.

In a written decision on August 4 by Judge Jane Borthwick, orders were given to stop all further discharge of the material to the site, to prohibit the removal of any of the material until further testing is completed, and to provide a list of all other sites where the material is deposited or stored within 21 days.

Three people were known to have become ill after exposure to the material at the site.

Environment Southland acting compliance manager Graeme McKenzie said the council had not yet received the list but was investigating the risks associated with the material and would determine a course of action from there.

There were still a lot of unknowns, he said.

"We want to examine exactly what we're dealing with . . . and then we can make an informed decision."

The council was treating the case with urgency, he said.

"This is an unusual situation . . . it's not something we would expect to encounter."

Under the Southland Regional Plan, no rule permits the discharge of industrial contaminant to land.

Representatives from Taha and Crawford Enterprises did not return calls yesterday.

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