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Appendix 2: Draft District Plan Provisions for Disused Sheep Dips

Territorial authorities may choose to integrate these draft provisions in their district plans to address contamination issues from the historical use of the land. One aspect highlighted here is the risks associated with a change in land use involving properties containing former sheep dips.

Issue: Health risks associated with land contamination (not mandatory part of plan)

The presence of contaminants on land has the potential to affect human health when the land use changes to a more sensitive activity.

Explanation (not mandatory part of plan)

The potential for hazardous contaminants to be present on land needs to be considered and assessed before approving a subdivision or land-use application that will result in an increased likelihood of human exposure to contaminants. The historical use of the land (eg, sheep farm, orchard, garage, workshop, fertiliser store, pit, landfill, etc) should also be considered.

Objective: Hazard management – old sheep-dip sites (could be one of a number of objectives under hazard management)

To avoid or minimise human health risks from the development, subdivision, or use of contaminated land associated with sheep dips that were in operation prior to 1980.

Explanation (not mandatory part of plan)

Old sheep-dip sites (pre-1980) are typically contaminated due to the historical use of persistent and toxic chemicals, including arsenic, dieldrin, DDT, aldrin and lindane. These chemicals are likely to be hazardous to people, particularly infants and children, being the most vulnerable to exposure. Potential risks arise from contact with and ingestion of contaminated soils, contaminated ground or surface water, eating food grown in contaminated soil, or eating animals or products from animals that have eaten contaminated soil.

Policy – Assessment of environmental effects

The potential health effects associated with the presence of contaminants from former sheep dips will be assessed when considering resource consents or plan change requests for a change in the use of rural land (eg, from rural to residential or lifestyle block).

Policy – remediation

Where contaminant levels exceed appropriate guideline values or a national environmental standard, the applicant will remediate the site and/or manage the health risk.

Methods – Former sheep-dip sites

(1) Resource consent applications for activities on rural land that may increase the risk to human health, such as:

  • subdivision of rural land
  • conversion of an existing rural accessory building to a residential use, or construction of an additional dwelling on an existing rural site

should be accompanied by information on the location of any former sheep-dip sites on the land. If a former sheep dip is present, soil testing may be required to determine whether any human health or environmental risk exists.

(2) When considering changes in the status of rural land (rezoning), an assessment will be made of the likelihood of contamination being present due to former sheep dips and the feasibility of remedying or mitigating any health risks.

(3) Practical guidelines and advice will be available to raise awareness among landowners about the potential risks old sheep-dip sites pose to people and the environment, such as children who live on farms, exposure of stock or contaminant residues in produce.

(Note: methods are not mandatory, rules are mandatory.)