Policy 1: Low Risk Discharges Onto or Into Land
Enable, through permitted activity rules and non-regulatory methods, the discharge of contaminants onto or into land where:
Policy 2: Other Discharges Onto or Into Land
Manage discharges of contaminants onto or into land not enabled by Policy 1, in a manner that avoids, where practicable, the following adverse effects and remedies or mitigates those effects that cannot be avoided:
Explanation and Principal Reasons for Adopting the Policies
Waikato Regional Council wants to enable discharges onto or into land that will not cause adverse effect that are inconsistent with the objectives.
Policy 1 identifies the adverse environmental effects of discharges onto or into land that are of most concern. Any discharge that does not have those effects is considered to be a low risk discharge and is enabled by the Plan.
Part a) relates to hazardous substances in the discharge or likely to be produced as a consequence of chemical reactions after the discharge has occurred. This addresses the potential contamination of soils or water. Information on whether a particular substance can meet these criteria is available for most hazardous substances through Material Safety Data Sheets and licences under legislation such as the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996.
Part b) applies to discharges such as waste sludges from industry and municipal sewage treatment facilities. Human and animal pathogens or diseases in these wastes could have serious adverse environmental effects and could also threaten market access for products. It is therefore important that these discharges are not enabled where they would accumulate in the soils to unsafe levels. The levels of pathogen contamination that is considered safe varies depending upon the pathogen, soil type and land use and needs to be determined on a casebycase basis with reference to relevant guidelines.
Part c) acknowledges that discharges onto or into land such as landfilling or cleanfilling in high risk environments such as floodplains or near cave entrances can increase sedimentation rates or exacerbate natural hazards in these environments. The policy identifies that these activities should not be enabled where they occur in locations where these effects are likely to occur.
Parts d) and e) acknowledge that discharges onto or into land can also have adverse effects on water and air resources. The objectives and policies for these resources are determined elsewhere in this Plan. To avoid repetition the policy provides a clear cross reference to these sections.
Part f) acknowledges that there are other values of land and soil resources that may be adversely affected by discharges onto or into land. This is particularly the case where the discharge affects archaeological sites, waahi tapu or other sites of importance to tangata whenua.
Policy 2 provides for those discharges onto or into land that do not meet the criteria in Policy 1. The policy gives primacy to avoiding adverse effects. However, it acknowledges that where adverse effects cannot be avoided when discharging onto or into land, they may still be able to be remedied or mitigated. The extent to which adverse effects must be remedied or mitigated is best determined on a casebycase basis through the resource consent process.