Presenters: Davina McNickel, Environment Canterbury & Brett Mongillo, Sephira Environmental Ltd

Presentation title: Christchurch HAIL ID project

As a regional council, Environment Canterbury is responsible for identifying and monitoring contaminated land, and the primary tool we use to do this is the Hazardous Activities and Industries List (HAIL). In Canterbury HAIL sites are listed on a publically available database, the Listed Land Use Register (LLUR).  Environment Canterbury was mid-way through a 10 year plan of region-wide HAIL identification when the Canterbury earthquakes of February 2011 struck.  The resulting land damage that now requires repair will in many cases involve large volumes of earthworks.  Where these works are to take place on a HAIL site, the permitted volumes of soil disturbance under the NES are likely to be exceeded, and consent will be required.      Environment Canterbury and its partner agencies working on Christchurch’s recovery recognized that the information available on HAIL sites in the city was insufficient.  Reliance on council records to determine the HAIL status of land was not going to be appropriate, and it was not thought to be fair or practical for individual landowners to pay for a Preliminary Site Investigation to determine the HAIL status of their land.  A decision was made to accelerate the HAIL ID process in Christchurch to support the recovery effort and reduce the burden on landowners.      Geoscience Consulting (NZ) Ltd, supported by Sephira Environmental Ltd, were awarded the contract to undertake the review project.     The technical challenge was to rapidly and accurately identify all previously unknown current and historical HAIL activities in an area of the city that occupies more than 1000 square kilometres, with a population of more than 400,000 and a 157-year history; catalogue sufficient evidence of the presence of one or more HAIL on each property to justify its inclusion on the LLUR; then transmit the evidence to Environment Canterbury in an organised electronic package compatible with their existing GIS-based database. From the initial stages of the project it was understood that owing to the rate and quantity of work, the number of people involved and subjectivity of interpretation of some information types, that project specific data interpretation standards and quality control procedures were necessary to ensure success.  Nevertheless many unanticipated difficulties with the management and interpretation of data arose during the project.  This paper discusses those difficulties along with difficulties encountered by Environment Canterbury in communicating the outcome of this study to the public and the decisions and procedures that were imposed to address them.

Event: WasteMINZ Conference 2014
Date: Wednesday 23 October 2014