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Dealing with contaminated sites

Why we monitor contaminated sites

Many industrial and farming activities can cause chemical contamination of soil, air and water. Some sites in our region have high levels of hazardous substances, posing a risk to threatening people’s health and the environment.
Local authorities, central government agencies and landowners are responsible for ensuring the effects of contaminated sites are minimised.
Waikato Regional Council’s Regional Policy Statement states that there should be no significant risk of adverse effects on people’s health or the environment from existing contaminated sites. Our regional plan sets out a detailed strategy for managing the risks of contaminated sites.

This indicator reports on progress being made to remediate and manage contaminated sites in the Waikato region.

Photo of contaminated stream from Tui MineWhat's happening?

Contaminated sites contain hazardous substances at significantly higher concentrations than normal (background) levels. This means they can harm people and the environment. Waikato Regional Council is working with site owners, city and district councils and health authorities to reduce the risks associated with contaminated sites.

Depending on the type and scale of contamination, contaminated sites can be:

  • remediated – cleaned up so they are no longer pose a risk
  • managed – to minimise risk of harm.

This indicator shows progress being made in dealing with contaminated sites. As at June 2018, 266 previously contaminated sites in the Waikato region have been remediated or managed so they are no longer pose a risk to people or the environment.

The numbers fluctuate over time because although remediation activities are ever increasing; increasing redevelopment and intensification means that new potentially contaminating activities can be established on previously remediated land. This land is no longer considered ‘remediated’, and instead is reclassified as ‘potentially contaminated’. The good thing is that modern site management and hazardous substances containment measures are generally much more stringent than historical practices, and so these sites generally pose less risk to human health and the environment.

>>Find out more about these data and trends

More information

When this indicator is updated 

This indicator is updated every two years.

Contact at Waikato Regional Council

Land and soil scientist - Science and Strategy Directorate

Updated 6 August 2018