What lies beneath: Dunedin's landfill exposure risk
An old Dunedin landfill was capped in the 1950s, but continual storms and coastal erosion could reveal that waste once more. Kettle Park is used as a sports field, but what was beneath that land, which borders St Clair and St Kilda beaches, was a concern for the Dunedin City Council. On Tuesday, the council met to discuss a report detailing some of the issues at the site, including the risk of exposure of industrial waste. Sampling had identified contaminants in the landfill, including metal and landfills, but those materials were covered by a layer of topsoil/turf, so the health risk to those who uses the sports fields remained low. READ MORE: * Plaque dedicated to three men killed by sharks off Dunedin's coast to be replaced * How to protect low-lying coastal Dunedin * Sewage solution could mean no more turd taxis, no more pipe-mares Kettle Park was used as a landfill from 1900 to the 1950s, but was later capped and the sports fields developed over the next decade. In 2019, high seas washed sand along 200 metres of Ocean Beach, exposing rubble placed in front of the dunes 12 years earlier to help protect the old landfill from being exposed. The discharge of landfill materials onto the beach posed a potential health risk to humans, and management and monitoring options were needed to minimise that risk. Ive got the feeling, at some stage, we are going to have to remove some of it, council coastal specialist, Dr Raphael Krier-Mariani, told the meeting. The report noted that during excavation work during the 1980s, a wax-wrapped box of machines guns and live ammunition was found in a bank, and the potential of other munitions and unexploded ordinances could not be discounted. Council heard not enough was known about potential leachate from the landfill, and more testing was required. There are lots of gaps in our knowledge still, Mayor Jules Radich said. While the report showed that council had a bit of time to further investigate the issue, it remained a pressing problem for us to consider. Councillor Jim OMalley said council needed to consider what the foreshore looked like before it was modified, which was the continuous story of bad decisions of modifications left, right and centre coming through here.