Assessing and Managing Contaminated Soil

Land affected by contaminants in soil must be identified and assessed before it is developed. If necessary, the land will need to be remediated or the contaminants contained to make it safe for human use.

Types of developments that trigger NES are:

  1. Removing and replacing fuel storage systems.
  2. Disturbing soil and earthworks.
  3. Soil testing for contamination.
  4. Subdivision.
  5. Changes in land use.

Our responsibilities are defined in a National Environmental Standard (NES) which is administered under the Resource Management Act. We are required to enforce the requirements of this NES by ensuring contaminated soil is identified and managed to protect human health. 

When does the NES apply?

Generally, if the land is, or has been used for a hazardous activity or industry and you want to subdivide or change the use of the land, sample or disturb the soil, or remove an underground fuel storage system, a resource consent may be required under the NES.

How do we find out if the land was used for a hazardous activity or industry under the NES?

There are different places where we can get information on previous activities on the land. These are:

  • Taranaki Regional Council’s Regional Xplorer data map. The map will show an indicator whether the property is included in their list of "Selected Land Use Sites".
  • Council records. If you need to check the Council records, then an application for LIM is required. We are not able to process this as part of the over-the-counter enquiries because we need to ensure that a complete check of Council records is undertaken.

There are times when these records do not have sufficient information. You may be required to seek assistance from a suitably qualified professional (e.g. environmental scientist) to conduct a preliminary site investigation.

What activities are considered to be hazardous?

The Ministry for the Environment has released the list of hazardous activity and industries list, which is commonly known as HAIL. This list is available on the MfE website.

How will this affect you?

When we receive resource consent and building consent applications for new developments, we will be checking the previous, current and intended use of the land and if the NES will be triggered by your development. We may require you to submit a preliminary or detailed site investigation and to submit a resource consent application to ensure compliance with NES.

How does this affect our processes?

PIM: During the PIM Process we will be checking all the relevant information storage to determine the activities undertaken on the land. The Consents Team will determine if a site investigation report is required and if resource consent is required to comply with the NES.

Building Consent: We will be suspending the building consent until we have received the site investigation report as this may have an effect on ensuring compliance with the Building Code.