A chemical plant with a controversial history has been granted consent to burn waste product for the next 30 years.
Dow AgroSciences met no resistance to its publicly notified
application to the Taranaki Regional Council to discharge contaminants
to air except one submission from the Taranaki District Health Board,
which was neutral.
The regional council's director of resource consent Fred McLay said
the company's engagement with the community, including local environment
groups, had obviously paid off.
"It's remarkable given this site and its history that it's gone
through the RMA [Resource Management Act] process without a hearing."
McLay said the company had been proactive in consulting key parties,
using phone calls, letter drops and a notice in the newspaper.
Since the site was established in 1960, systems for treating odour
have been vastly improved and some toxic chemicals ceased production,
including the herbicide used to make Agent Orange.
The Taranaki District Health Board's submission wanted to ensure
conditions of the consent were enough to protect the health of people
It requested a consent duration of no more than 15 years.
The consent runs until 2044 but could be reviewed and changed by
council if needed, depending on monitoring results, McLay said.
The company, formerly Ivon Watkins-Dow, is known for the chemical
dioxin, a by-product of chemicals it manufactured from the early 1960s
Dioxin has been blamed for birth defects and cancer of residents in the Paritutu area.
The plant manufactures about 70 different agrichemical products
across four main process plants and uses an incinerator to dispose of
There is potential for dioxins to form as combustion by-products.
But director of environmental quality Gary Bedford said the company's incinerator was clean and met international standards.
"A backyard incinerator is tens of thousands of times worse."
Testing of dioxin emissions in two residential areas near the site
showed concentrations were within the typical background levels in other
parts of New Zealand.