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Kopeopeo Canal Remediation Project: Council puts in second request for funding

1 min read

Not done yet: This sign on the Keepa Road bridge advises the public that while swimming in the canal is fine, fishing and eeling remains unsafe.

The Bay of Plenty Regional Council will be making a second request to the Ministry for the Environment for funding to remediate the contaminated Kopeopeo canal after its first request was refused.

The council is seeking funding from the ministry’s Contaminated Sites Remediation Fund to bring the ministry’s contribution to the Kopeopeo Canal Remediation Project up to 50%.

To date, the project has cost $22 million of which the ministry has contributed $8 million.

The council asked the ministry for further funding in March 2019 but it was refused because the remediation fund was oversubscribed.

The council’s risk and assurance committee has decided to reapply for funding in this year’s funding round.

The Kopeopeo Canal was contaminated between the 1950s and late 1980s as a result of stormwater discharges from the old Whakatane Board Mill that treated timber using Pentachlorophenol.

The Kopeopeo Canal Remediation Project has moved 35,000 cubic metres of dioxin contaminated sediment from the canal to containment sites for bioremediation.

Bioremediation of the sediment is expected to take 15 years and will use two different types of fungi and bacteria consortium to break down the dioxins and clean the contaminated sediment.

Chairperson councillor David Love said the letter the council received from the ministry implied that it would have been successful in gaining funding had the fund not already been exhausted.

Applications for this funding round close at the end of March 2020.

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