Is Auckland Water Safe?
A very important Environmental Court case is getting underway which should tell us if Auckland’s water is not as safe as it used to be or there has been a recent deterioration.
Joel Cayford, who was an extremely good ARC Councillor but sadly is no longer elected to Auckland’s local bodies, but continues to advocate for a better Auckland, has written to Auckland Councillors and to Watercare stating that he is at a loss to understand how Winstone Aggregates obtained consent to dump “cleanfill” with elevated levels of contaminants in the Three Kings Quarry.
He says: “Auckland should not be condoning – in any shape or form – activities which permit new contaminants to add to the contaminant loading already building in our underground water resources. It has to be stopped.”
In his letter to Mayor Brown he says:
“The Mt Eden Road quarry – also known as Three Kings Quarry – is above, and drains into, a large fresh water aquifer from which water is already drawn by some (including Auckland Zoo), and which is a back-up drinking water source for Auckland in the event of a natural disaster, such as the one we have just seen in Christchurch.
“It is unclear to me after the recent re-structuring of Auckland local government, exactly whose responsibility it is to defend the public interest in Auckland’s underground water resources.
“The proposed Mt Eden Road quarry landfill project may result in Auckland’s aquifers becoming too contaminated over time to be used as a much-needed water source. Why should Auckland take that risk when industry best practice options exist to avoid it? If a natural disaster hit in Auckland – volcano or earthquake – good civil defence planning would be reliant upon Auckland’s underground water resources to meet the need for drinking water. Surely Auckland Council would not support any activities which might degrade the quality of Auckland’s underground water resources.
So the decision to grant the Three Kings Quarry owners, Winstone Aggregates, resource consent to fill the Mt Eden Road quarry with waste material is being heardin the Environment Court in a case getting underway today.
Cayford argues that the waste material will be permitted to contain elevated levels of contaminants including arsenic, copper, zinc, DDT and hydrocarbons.
He says there has been many submissions opposing this “permit to pollute” process, including a wide range of community interests whose concerns have not been addressed.
“These concerns include not only the critical water issues, but also the fact that up to 750 trucks – many of them articulated – will carry fill to the quarry every day with dramatic effects on local traffic flow. In addition there will be significant dust pollution and noise from the operation itself. This could go on as long as 35 years, which is the term of the consent.”
This issue has flown under the radar – not helped by attention focused on the Christchurch tragedy.
Thank goodness for bright-eyed crusaders like Cayford. We await with anticipation the result. But we also await explanations as to how this ever came to be.
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