For homeowners looking to remediate earthquake damage there may be extra costs caused by contamination of the land where foundation solutions involve the disturbance or removal of soil. These can include, but are not limited to, the costs associated with engaging an environmental expert, undertaking further investigation and removing the contaminated soil. The cost to remove and dispose of contaminated soil can be in excess of $100,000. You can find more information about contaminated land at www.mfe.govt.nz/land.
The Ministry for the Environment has identified a number of industrial, agricultural and horticultural activities that are known to use hazardous substances which could potentially contaminate land. These activities are known as HAIL activities (Hazardous Activities and Industries List).
A full list can be found at http://www.mfe.govt.nz/land/risks-contaminated-land/my-land-contaminated/hazardous-activities-and-industries-list-hail, and includes:
- Chemical manufacture, application and bulk storage;
- Electrical and electronic works, power generation and transmission;
- Explosives and ordinances production, storage and use;
- Metal extraction, refining and reprocessing, storage and use;
- Mineral extraction, refining and reprocessing, storage and use;
- Vehicle refuelling, service and repair;
- Cemeteries and waste recycling, treatment and disposal;
- Land subject to the migration of hazardous substances from adjacent land in a quantity that could be a risk to human health or the environment;
- Land that has been subject to the intentional or accidental release of a hazardous substance in sufficient quantity that could be a risk to human health or the environment.
Common examples of HAIL sites are land that has been used for the production of gas and coal products, historic sawmill and timber treatment plants, old sheep dips, historic mining sites and historic landfills. Your property’s Land Information Memorandum (LIM) report and the Listed Land Use Register (www.llur.ecan.govt.nz) will usually identify whether your property has been subject to a HAIL activity.
If you are applying for a permit, building consent or resource consent for land that has been subject to a HAIL activity, the National Environmental Standards (NES) for Assessing and Managing Contaminants in Soil to Protect Human Health (Resource Management Regulations 2011) will apply (http://www.mfe.govt.nz/publications/rma/nes-assessing-soil-protect-health). This will ensure that contaminated soil is identified, assessed and managed in a way that does not endanger human health or the environment. This process can be very expensive.
We suggest you look at the registers for your property now.