|Black and white photo of agri-chemical waste
outflow at Back Beach Paritutu,
New Plymouth. November 1970
High volume agri-chemical waste discharges at Elliot Street and Paritutu were reported by the Taranaki Regional Council as stormwater discharges from Ivan Watkins Buller Street site and stormwater discharges from the IWD Paritutu Road office block, with occasional discharges from spills.
*TRC August 2001, pg 13;”V Centennial-2- GPS2598524E-6237853N.
This alleged site is the discharge point of the former stormwater line from the office blocks of the IWD premises. The stormwater system was apparently accessed during spills that occurred on the site and was seen to be frothing before the mid 1980’s.”.
*TRC August 2001, pg 24 – 25; V Centennial-2
“The former stormwater discharge point to the Tasman Sea from the office block area of IWD.”
*TRC August 2001, pg 27; Zd Tasman Sea – old Elliot Street outfall
“The outfall off Elliot Street that included stormwater discharge from Buller Street.”.
So it still remains a little known fact, that historically the majority of Ivan Watkins and IWD wastes were discharged entrained in liquids into the Tasman sea, both through Centennial Park / over Back Beach and through New Plymouth Council sewer / stormwater outfalls. The volume of suspended solids in these discharges [from agrichemical production] was far greater than reported amount of onshore buried wastes officials and media have focused on.
n contrast to significant council funding for community projects to enhance the area and the council support for recent residents concerned over impacts on property prices due to media controversy, council officials quoted high OIA*D18
costs blocking access to key historic information on the agrichemical waste discharges and maintained a closed*D19
relationship with Dow AgroScience when it came to jointly held information relevant to those directly exposed to discharges and especially when compared to public information available on Dow USA historic waste treatment*D20
August 2001 Taranaki Regional Council’
“Investigation of alleged agrichemical waste disposal sites in New Plymouth.”
The purpose of the Council’s action in Stage Two of this investigation was to firstly ascertain whether there was any environmental risk arising from any of the identified alleged dump sites and secondly to ascertain whether any inappropriate dumping or disposal had occurred.”
“The second grouping was of six sites where alleged historic surface contamination from stormwater from the IWD plant had occurred. The allegations from these sites did not involve dumping or burial of contaminated waste.
The third grouping of seven sites were known municipal landfills and sewerage discharge outfalls operating during the period 1960 to 1980. With each of these sites there is no direct link to IWD if disposal of contaminated wastes occurred it was in all probability in accordance with the standards of the time and undertaken by a range of parties ie, contractors, councils and the company.”
The TRC 2001 report dismissed the trade waste discharges at Paritutu as only stormwater from the IWD office block with occasional spills, therefore did not recognise that the Paritutu council outfall did not comply with its Marine department permit which required that the discharge be piped to ‘low water’ or the low tide mark. Council letters note the council were allowed to discharge stormwater, not agri-chemical wastes. The Taranaki Herald also reported on March 13, 1974 that the council sewer outfall [Elliot Street] was illegal as the council did not hold a permit. Large volumes of liquid agrichemical wastes including en-trained solids were also discharged through the council Elliot Street outfall.
Subsequently when TRC were provided with official documents confirming historic agrichemical waste discharges at both Elliot Street outfall and through Centennial Park / onto the beach, the 2005 TRC response was to test gurnard from Paritutu and Bell Block [decades after the peak discharges], and yet again ignore reporting the historic discharge through the public park and onto the beach.
uring the period of these discharges local media reported deaths of both*D05
fish and seabirds, then the disappearance of all marine biota around the wider area around the Paritutu discharge. Both official and media reports also record the severe corrosion of sewer systems from the agrichemical waste discharges, along with the hazards to council drainage workers.*D09
It appears significant sewer replacements and repairs were needed on at least two occasions due to “violent chemical attack” on concrete sewers pipes from agrichemical discharges.
he dangers to the public (particularly children)*D03
from the Paritutu discharge were noted by media in 1963 and officially reported in 1967.