Hastings is the ‘winner’, if a new chemical warehouse just announced by Auckland-based DGL Group comes to pass.

The facility, to be built in the Irongate area, would store chemicals used by Hawke’s Bay’s agriculture and industrial users.

Is this a case of Hastings winning the Pineapple Lumps?!

Sounds pretty dangerous, putting such a facility near waterways and on top of an unconfined aquifer.

BayBuzz checked and so far no consent applications have been filed with either the Hastings or Regional Councils. HDC would regulate the land use (storage of hazardous substances) under its District Plan, while HBRC would regulate stormwater run-off and presumably express a view to HDC on any perceived risk to the aquifer.

HDC’s rules require a thorough risk assessment before granting consent for such an activity. That assessment would need to examine the following, among other considerations:

29.1.7A

1.   RISK ASSESSMENT

A risk assessment shall be provided, focussing on the following issues:

(i) Assessment of the probability and potential consequences of an accident leading to the release or loss of control of hazardous substances. This assessment should focus on the ability of the design and management of the site to avoid accidents, such as spill containment measures, fire safety and fire water management, emergency management, site drainage and off-site infrastructure (e.g stormwater drainage system, sewer type and capacity) and the disposal of waste containing hazardous substances.

(ii) Potential risk and effect on people and neighbouring activities, with emphasis on sensitive activities such as residential zones, educational facilities and community facilities.

(iii) Potential risk and effect on natural ecosystems and the life supporting capacity of land and water, including the Heretaunga Plains Unconfined Aquifer, waterbodies and sources of potable water.

(iv) Potential risk and effect on sites of significance to Tangata Whenua, sites of historical or archaeological significance, Recommended Areas for Protection, Outstanding Natural Features and Landscapes or Significant Landscape Character Areas.

(v) The potential for natural hazards to impact on the operation of the hazardous facility.

(vi) The potential for cumulative adverse effects of hazardous substances.

We looked over the website of DGL Group and without question they are a reputable, experienced provider of chemical manufacture, storage and disposal services. They currently operate facilities like this in Auckland, Tauranga, Wellington and Christchurch. Surely HDC will check into the experience those councils have had with DGL.

Here’s how DGL describes its environmental commitment:

“The board of DGL is accountable for the overall environmental compliance and performance. This includes providing guidance and necessary resources and support to ensure that DGL’s business activities are undertaken in a manner that always considers and effectively manages potential environmental risks. DGL takes responsibility for implementing the environmental policies and guidelines seriously, proactively addressing issues which may adversely affect environmental performance.”

And here’s their statement of ethics:

“Our policy is to maintain a culture of openness, trust and integrity in the company’s business practices. This is understood as a team effort involving the participation and support of every DGL employee.”

If DGL can demonstrate it has lived up to those statements in the past, then they might be welcomed as a new corporate player in the HB community.

But before we put out the welcome mat, DGL also needs to be awfully damn convincing about how they will address the risks HDC (and HBRC) must carefully weigh before granting any consent.

BayBuzz will follow this process closely.

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3 Comments

  1. Totally agree.
    Whether it’s an accident in storage, or spraying on to plants or the ground, it all goes into the waterways eventually, don’t you think?

  2. Hope there’s plenty of buffer land between the facility and dwellings and horticultural activities.

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