A former Ivon Watkins-Dow manager yesterday confirmed the company did take chemicals to public landfills in its early days.
Bob Moffat said that in 1955 when he began work at IWD, now called Dow AgroSciences, there were no restrictions on what could be taken to municipal dumps.
It wasn’t everyday practice to take waste to the local tip, but it was one of the places available, Mr Moffat said.
“That was part of the normal state of things in those days,” he said.
The chemicals found at Marfell Park were most likely from IWD, Mr Moffat said, as no other local companies were using them at that time.
Dow AgroSciences operations leader Andrew Syme said the company would have used municipal landfills along with many other companies.
He did not have any specific information about how the broken drum remains came to be in the Marfell landfill area.
“It has been our long standing practice that drums of chemicals are not disposed of in public waste facilities. Tetrachlorobenzene and trichlorophenol were raw materials previously used in the manufacturing process, but have not been handled on the Dow AgroSciences site for more than 20 years,” Mr Syme said.
The company was naturally concerned about the find, and would assist TRC with its investigations, he said. The question over whether IWD used city dumps for its chemical waste earlier sparked a 2001 TRC investigation into 36 alleged dump sites.
The study found there was no evidence of waste disposal at 31 sites including Marfell Park.
Thirty-one alleged and five known agrichemical dump sites throughout New Plymouth were investigated and TRC found there were no environmental risks at any of them.
Its investigation concluded that of the five sites where disposal of agrichemical wastes was known to have occurred from the 1960s to 1980s, the clean-up and rehabilitation of these sites had been effective and there was no evidence of any additional unknown waste. It led to the conclusion there was no evidence further action was required at any of the sites. There are 40 former landfill sites in the New Plymouth District of which 10 are used as parks or reserve land.
10/06/2009 KIRSTY JOHNSTON | Daily News | stuff.co.nz | NEWS-2009-M06-10-002