Fears are escalating water pooling in a signed-off rehabilitated quarry could be leaching into Christchurch’s groundwater.
The Christchurch City Council is investigating following allegations water on the former Dunns-Winstone Aggregates Quarry in Yaldhurst is seeping into the city’s water supplies.
Council’s head of regulatory compliance Tracey Weston said she was unable to provide comment on the allegations as it was part of an ongoing investigation.
The alarm has been raised by a group of long-time Yaldhurst residents – who have been complaining to the city council for years about the dust caused from nearby quarries.
In the past, Christchurch resident Anna Youngman has begged the city council for help after suffering from respiratory issues associated with the dust from a nearby quarry.
A resident says the stagnant water is draining into the aquifers and the issue has not been addressed by the city council. Photo / Supplied
She described the old quarry on the Old West Coast Road as an “absolute eyesore”.
“The water is pooling on the base of what was the pit. There has been a large pipe installed draining the water with only one place it can go into and that is into the ground water. It is stagnant dirty water. The clean fill has been a disaster.
“It’s just all stones and there is gorse appearing – it is not fit for grazing purposes – in fact it’s not fit for anything.”
She said the crucial issue was that the stagnant water is draining into the aquifers and the issue has not been addressed by the city council.
Aggregate was extracted from the quarry until February last year.
Weston said city council compliance officers monitored the site with three monthly inspections until the site was signed off by the authority and Environment Canterbury.
The quarry had the final sign-off in May last year – meeting all conditions of the consent in regard to rehabilitation of the site.
“During the course of monitoring no material was identified that did not fall within the definition of clean fill,” she said.
The Christchurch City Council is investigating following allegations water on the former Dunns-Winstone Aggregates Quarry in Yaldhurst is seeping into the city's water supplies. Photo / Supplied
Topsoil was spread across the site in accordance with the conditions of consent and photographic records taken during the final site inspection show a reasonable surface with a green tinge of the grass that had been seeded, Weston said.
A Winstone spokesman said given the sign-off, they believe in good faith they met all their commitments to restoring the site for future use.
He said the property was handed back to the owner and it has not been involved in any work that may have occurred post hand-back.
A formal complaint was lodged by Yaldhurst residents in June this year – and in response the council visited the site and met with the landowner along with another local resident.
Weston noted the area was littered with stones – along with construction and demolition materials on the surface of the site.
The NZ Herald was unable to contact the landowner in time for publication.
But it has been reported the owner was assured by the real estate company she dealt with that the land was productive.
She believes the quarry land should have never been signed off and her dreams of turning it into a petting farm had been dented.