Work on Final Section of Kopeopeo Canal Remediation in Full Swing

A dramatic night lift of a barge, excavator and other machinery over Keepa Road Bridge in Whakatāne marked a smooth transition into the final section of the Kopeopeo Canal remediation project, the New Zealand’s Bay of Plenty Regional Council said in its latest release. 

The council, with co-funding from the Ministry for the Environment, is working with the community to clean up dioxin-contaminated sediment in the Kopeopeo Canal.

The canal was contaminated between the 1950s and late 1980s as a result of stormwater discharges from a former sawmill, which treated timber using Pentachlorophenol (PCP).

The Kopeopeo Canal Remediation Project is removing sediment from the canal using a barge-mounted cutter-suction dredge. Sediment is transferred along a pipeline to Geotubes inside containment sites.

“As the barge moves along the canal it needs to be lifted over bridges and pipelines enroute. This lift is the sixth and final of the bridge lifts along the project length,” said the council.

“Dredging will continue along the final section of the canal towards the confluence with the Orini Stream. Four kilometers of the total 5.1km has been dredged to date, marking approximately 80% completion.”

Dredging is expected to be completed by the middle of the year, but works will continue on the Keepa Road containment site to cover and start bioremediation of the contained material.

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