Contaminated Land: On Developing Land in an Environmentally Sustainable Way

Waste on LandContaminated land can have serious consequences on land owners and general public health. For land owners, a contaminated site limits the use of the land and reduces its potential land value. For residents, exposure to a polluted environment could have an impact on their health.

Fortunately, companies such as Cato Bolam Consultants have experience in contaminated land remediation. The aim is to eliminate the possible risks to human health and the environment while transforming the plane into one where a project can start. By embracing more environmentally sustainable ways of conducting business, contaminated land can be an issue of the past.

What is Contaminated Land?

The Resource Management Act defines contaminated land as land that contains hazardous substances. Contamination usually happens when facilities or residential properties fail to dispose of toxic materials properly. Contamination has far-reaching effects since it is rarely concentrated in a certain area — in fact, improperly disposed of substances could end up in waterways or seep into the soil through groundwater.

Land Contamination due to Agriculture and Improper Waste Disposal

Studies show that there are about 20,000 sites contaminated with heavy metals, arsenic, pesticides and other hazardous substances. Previous farming practices during the 1950s were one of the biggest contributors to land contamination. Back then, farmers used dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane, a chemical compound known for its adverse environmental impact, as a pesticide. Additionally, activities such as sheep dipping, historic mining, timber treatment, and the storage and use of petroleum products all had their part in causing soil contamination.

Managing Contaminants in Soil to Protect Human Health

Regional councils have made it a point to monitor land where hazardous activities have taken place since 2008 and add them to a register. Additionally, the Ministry for the Environment has created a National Environmental Standard to make the process of managing contaminated land a lot easier. As a result, environmental agencies have been able to strictly regulate the use of soil contaminants.

Contaminated land raises the issue of improper waste disposal. Simply following established guidelines for proper waste disposal makes the country a cleaner and greener place to live in.