Under the Resource Management Act (section 2, interpretation), contaminated land means land that has a hazardous substance in or on it that
- has significant adverse effects on the environment, or
- is reasonably likely to have significant adverse effects on the environment (including human health)
A site is considered contaminated when a hazardous substance, or a mixture of substances, is present in the site soil, groundwater or surface water at concentrations above guideline levels, or that pose a threat to human health, animal health, or the environment. The threat may arise through direct contact, through ingestion or from vapours that the substance may give off.
Source of Contamination
A site may become contaminated when hazardous substances are spilled, leaked or dumped, or migrate from adjacent sites. Contamination may occur accidentally or it may occur as part of normal site use because of poor operational, material storage or waste disposal practices on the site. Contamination may be from many years ago because many hazardous substances do not break down or break down only slowly. Examples of sites that may be contaminated are:
- Sheep Dips
- Timber treatment sites
- Fuel stations
- Scrap yards
- Paint factories
Check Before You Buy
If you are considering purchasing a section or building on a contaminated site, it is advisable that you obtain a Land Information Memorandum (LIM) from your local Council and/or request information from the Regional Council. A LIM can provide information about the extent of contamination of a site if the information is available. For further information, you should contact the Environmental Health or Planning Unit at your local Council.
The Ministry for the Environment has published extensive information about contaminated land on their website. This includes information on:
- Finding out if land is contaminated
- Buying, selling or managing contaminated land
- Preventing contamination of land
Waikato Regional Council also has published information about contaminated sites in the Waikato region.
Hazardous Activities and Industries List (HAIL)
- Hazardous Activities and Industries List (HAIL)
- Resource Management (National Environmental Standard for Assessing and Managing Contaminants in Soil to Protect Human Health) Regulations 2011