Naenae next in line for a cleanup

Hutt News, 15 July 2009

by Michael Kopp

A longstanding source of pollution to stormwater drains and the highly-degraded Waiwhetu Stream, the Naenae industrial area is to be subjected to a major cleanup audit from Greater Wellington Regional Council's pollution prevention programme, Take Charge.

Naenae was selected as the next Take Charge area by the environmental regulation division of GWRC because it is in the upper part of the catchment of the Waiwhetu Stream, often described as the most polluted stream in New Zealand, whose lower reach is now part of a multimillion-dollar cleanup.

A GWRC report says "It is a catchment where a large amount of council resources and time are being directed by both Greater Wellington and Hutt City Council (HCC), in relation to clearing contaminated sediment, flood protection initiatives and stormwater and wastewater management."

Naenae has a high level of pollution incidents reported annually (greater than 10), and is frequently used for recreational purposes. Also considered were Seaview, Griffins, Gracefield and Wingate. GWRC says previous experience shows that many businesses are ignorant of the Resource Management Act's provisions regarding pollution, and either ignore or don't see anything wrong with activities that pollute stormwater drains and streams.

The Naenae programme follows a two-year Take Charge effort in the Grenada North industrial area, that produced a voluntary cleanup and improvement in pollution control at 62 sites by voluntary action.

GWRC uses a computer programme called 1000minds as an initial assessment tool to help assess a range of environmental, community, regulatory and logistical values and attributes to choose Take Charge areas.

The area where the majority of the audits will take place is bordered by Cambridge Tce, Clendon St, Naenae Rd, Everest Ave and Vogel St.

There is a small industrial area on Rata St that will also be assessed.

GWRC says the area is small in size "and has an uncomplicated stormwater network, making it easier to track where pollution may enter the network, and easier to identify and show the businesses where the end point of their discharges is."

The objective of Take Charge is to assess business activities, identify actual and potential pollution sources and to remove or reduce pollution inputs by providing advice to business on pollution control methods.

A GWRC report says its Environmental Protection team will walk through the target areas, surveying businesses to determine their number, type, and likely pollution risks. These survey results will be used to identify those businesses requiring further assessment.

During the survey visits a brief explanation of the project will be given to businesses outlining the investigations objectives and purpose.

The programme asks for voluntary cooperation and in Grenada North it received good levels of support.
GWRC says that by working with "businesses in this area, we will be able to raise awareness and prevent more pollution from entering the Waiwhetu Stream."

Ad Feedback Stream sampling will occur above and below the main outfall point to the Waiwhetu Stream to determine the level of pollution, as well as further up the catchment to provide background data.

Hutt City officers will assist with the initial walk through, and GWRC's effort works alongside several objectives of HCC's Environmental Sustainability Strategy 2009-2014.