Presenters: Murray Wallis, GHD & Mary Barton Chorus
Presentation title: A global consent for Chorus: Disturbing contaminated land in the Auckland region

Chorus is one of the primary companies charged with the roll out of ultra-fast broadband throughout New Zealand. This $2 billion project involves the installation of fibre optic ducting down nearly every urban street and road in New Zealand. The majority of this work is undertaken within road reserve (normally within the grass berm) with a limited amount of work undertaken on private property to provide customer connections.   In January 2012, the National Environmental Standard for Assessing and Managing Contaminants in Soil to Protect Human Health, 2012 (soil NES) was enacted.  This legislation means that Chorus is obligated to identify and manage risks associated with contaminated land where their trenching works disturb contaminated land.  As such, Chorus is obliged to identify the location of contaminated sites that are within or adjacent to their trenching corridors.   Given the scale of the Chorus’ projects for the Auckland region, it was recommended that Chorus apply for a NES global consent for the disturbance of contaminated land in the Auckland Region.  In order to support the consent application and requirements of the NES; GHD developed a simplified process enabling the identification of potential contaminated sites in the Auckland Region, while providing for risk mitigation measures that are commensurate with the level of risk posed by the potential contaminants at each of these sites.  This is the first global consent under the Soil NES to be approved by Auckland Council across all legacy council and district plan areas. It is also arguably one of the first global consents under the soil NES to be granted in New Zealand.  As a result of this work Chorus is now viewed as industry leaders for contaminated land management for linear infrastructure including understanding contaminated land risks. They have improved management of risks associated with their work, and are now leading industry collaboration on contaminated site identification.  Chorus Engagement & Planning Manager, Graeme MacCarrison, comments, “The approach that GHD developed enables us to consistently manage legal obligations and risk associated with contaminated land, for multiple, concurrent work sites across the Auckland region, under a piece of legislation that did not consider linear infrastructure”.
Event: WasteMINZ Conference 2014
Date: Wednesday 23 October 2014