Paritutu and New Plymouth Marine Discharges


Working draft: Marine discharge Paritutu contamination point source:

This document challenges refusals by both central*D01 and local government*D06 to recognize historic exposures*D13 and environmental damage from agrichemical waste streams.
Taranaki Herald 2 October 1963
These waste streams*D14 Editorial were primarily from centrifuging*D03a to remove unwanted liquids during historic agrichemical manufacture at Ivon Watkins and I.W.D some times these wastes were discharged through NPCC parks.*D15
Taranaki Herald 23 September 1964
From 1960 Ivan Watkins and IWD liquid wastes discharged through council sewers and also through Centennial Park with wastes running down the sign posted public access track to back beach, Paritutu*D16 until 1966. From 1966 the wastes were piped to the edge of the beach where they then cascaded onto, then ran across the beach. Liquid waste streams*D17 included those from 2,4,5-T, 2,4-D and triazine production. IWD ‘Service’ reported 1 million gallons of herbicide had been produced by 1959 prior to moving to Paritutu Road.
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.
In 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 operations
August 2001 Taranaki Regional Council’ 

“Investigation of alleged agrichemical waste disposal sites in New Plymouth.”

Executive summary,

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.
During 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.
The dangers to the public (particularly children)*D03 from the Paritutu discharge were noted by media in 1963 and officially reported in 1967.
Black and white photo of IWD
untreated wastes still flowing
over Back Beach at Paritutu,
New Plymouth,
November 1970
The New Zealand North Island Hector’s dolphin more recently known as Maui’s dolphin are a North Island inshore species*D07 of dolphin. Inshore Hector’s dolphin’s are recognised as a senteniel senteniel species*D08 for the effects of organochlorines such as DDT, dioxins and PCB’s which have a remarkable ability to bio-accumulate in top of the food-chain species.
Levels of contaminants found in South Island’s Hectors dolphin were far higher than those in offshore dolphin species. From 1970 to 2007 North Island’s Maui’s dolphin have almost entirely disappeared from southern end of their North Island territory. The decline in Maui’s dolphin from 1970 top 2007 has been estimated at 93 %. Taranaki had a high rate of Maui’s deaths over the 1970’s and 1980’s*D04a period and the majority, were not netting deaths.
The highest levels of dioxins and PCBs recorded in the South Island were in a one year old Hectors dolphin, reflecting the high exposures in-utero and from breast feeding. Reports also note that immune system effects and sterility may result from organochlorine exposures to marine mammals.
Recent animal studies have confirmed transgenerational effects from ancestral exposures to TCDD in both rats *D21 and mice. *D22
The results of these experiments reinforce the relevance of historic ancestral contamination levels in risk assessments, as well as, more recent exposures. The epigenetic effects as reported in these recent studies raise pointed questions over possible long term effects of environmental contaminants which may initially be viewed as ‘safe’ in initial risk assessments, but are then identified as having epigenetic activity.
TRC marine report*D23  
August 2001 Taranaki Regional Council
“Investigation of alleged agrichemical waste disposal sites in New Plymouth.” TRC, 2001, pages 18 and 19;
G Marfell Park. A former authorised municipal landfill that received IWD liquid wastes during sewerage system maintenance.
Daily News Photo March 1970
Local 1970 media reports also record the kill off*D10 of aquatic life from the Cook Street municipal dump to the sea after chemicals leaked from the dump into the Mangaotuku stream.
Although the 2001 regional council $166,500 investigation reported agrichemical wastes were deposited in Council ‘tips’ during sewer maintenance, it did not report or recognise the primary agrichemical waste-stream, the hundreds of millions of litres of contaminated Ivon Watkins / IWD wastes / cooling water historically discharged (annually) at the NPCC Paritutu Paritutu ‘creek’ and outfall*D11 (1960-1972?) and also the hundreds of millions of litres of Ivon Watkins Dow wastes / cooling water historically (?1972-1984), discharged (annually) at the NPCC Elliot Street outfall.*D12 The 2001 report also neglected to mention the 1970 kill off of aquatic life downstream from the Cook Street municipal dump to the Tasman sea.
The TRC report assessed environmental risk in 2001 and dismissed the earlier potential for harm claiming that the 1960’s Paritutu discharge of untreated chemical wastes which ran down the council recommended access track to the beach, was only storm-water from the IWD office block with occasional spills.
The TRC report also neglected to mention the annual [est. for 250 days] 1978 discharge of approximately 105,000 tonnes of liquid wastes from chemical manufacture, containing around 2900 tonnes of suspended and dissolved solids and 27 tonnes of phenol’s.*D12 The 1960 to 1987 marine discharges were the primary (yet largely ignored) Ivon Watkins and IWD waste discharges and IWD had only installed*D24 liquid waste treatment in the early 1980s, twenty years after commencing operations at Paritutu Road.

TRC told off*D25

Dow offer to pay $50,000.00*D26

Original Source



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