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Silt FAQs

When you call to arrange silt pick up, you will be asked to describe your silt in general, to enable the right disposal site to be selected. There are four types of silt:

  • Clean silt – Silt from places like roads and streets, gardens that do not have a septic tank, and does not contain solid items like flood-damaged household furniture.
  • Mixed silt – Silt mixed with small amounts of litter such as waste from flood-damaged household goods (e.g. plastic, small toys and food waste), and food affected by the flood, e.g. apples and onions.
  • Contaminated silt – Silt that may have had septic tank, spilt paint, diesel, chemicals etc, mixed through.
  • Woody silt – Silt mixed with quantities of timber and other storm-related debris like fence posts, trees etc.

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council initially took random samples across the region to test the silt and understand the make-up of the silt. We found that outside of Awatoto, there no significantly contaminated silt. People should continue to take precaution and wear suitable PPE, but silt can safely be taken from around the region.

Silt samples from silt deposit sites are being taken several times a week. To date the results are showing very little in the way of chemical contamination, with heavy metals generally present at the natural ‘background’ concentrations for our region, and other contaminants such as pesticides, herbicides and hydrocarbons typically not being detected. Our site contamination specialists are continually reviewing the sampling and analysis regime and adapting it as necessary, based on the results coming in, observations on site, and the origin of the material being deposited.

Analysis for pathogens common in flood situations have been incorporated into the regime, with the first set of results expected in the coming days.

A number of silt collection sites have been established and are storing silt around Hawke’s Bay.

HDC and HBRC have been working under the emergency works provisions of the Resource Management Act 1991 to enable works to commence as soon as possible to allow for roading connections to be re-established and drainage areas maintained.

Before any new site is opened it is assessed looking at whether there any special features or characteristics such as: archaeological sites, wahi tapu areas, significant flora and fauna, waterbodies and wetlands, alongside proximity to neighbouring sites and community uses.  Given the urgency of clearing silt and other debris from roading corridors, the six established sites are currently being consented retrospectively.

A further eight sites are being investigated to determine whether they are feasible for use.

We’re working through our jobs list from the community, and are prioritising areas where silt is blocking property or drains. The jobs list we have at the moment in October 2023 is for around 1,200,000m3 of silt.

With the sheer volume of silt over a large area we expect the complete clean-up of all of the silt to take many months, however we need more funding to complete these jobs.

The taskforce is looking at a range of options for storing and using silt in the future, and working closely with other councils, industry, and landowners to develop solutions for the region.

We know lots of people in the community are interested and also concerned about what happens with this large volume of silt and how long it will take. Our team is committed to finding the best solutions we can for our rohe and will keep the community updated.

We are working hard to reduce double handling as we clear silt around Hawke’s Bay.

If you or contractors working for you have a large amount of silt and are able to move it directly to one of our disposal sites using dump trucks, please get in touch with us on 0800 108 838 and we will work with you.

You need to contact your insurance company regarding this work who can assess the need for silt removal and the best way to do this. Please see the ‘Removing silt from underneath your house' for more info.

If you’re dealing with silt, it’s important to work safely due to the risk of pathogens, such as bacteria or viruses, which are typical following a flood and will decrease over time as they are exposed to air and sunshine. Ensure you’re limiting the risk of infection by:

  • using good hygiene, such as wearing gloves, avoiding breathing in dust, and washing hands and exposed skin frequently
  • washing freshly soiled clothes regularly

Out of precaution we wouldn’t recommend adding fresh silt into vegetable gardens until spring to allow pathogen levels to decrease.

Lightly silted tanks can be extracted and disposed of at East Clive using a council approved contractor listed on this page.

If you have a larger accumulations of silt, it will require extraction using jetting or another method. Laterals and drainage pipes need to be checked and cleaned if they are blocked. Hastings District Council is currently working through disposal options for larger amounts of septic waste contaminated silt. Contact to organise a visit from HDC.

Find our authorised contractor information and list here.

Wood waste has washed up on beaches, river sides, roadsides, public areas and private properties after the cyclone. We will remove debris from public places to chip it, starting with the immediate area around the Heretaunga Plains and then progressing further afield. We strongly recommend against burning this waste as it will be contaminated and burning the waste risks spreading any contamination.  

If you have wood waste on a lifestyle block, farm or orchard, the Regional Council will be able to help remove larger volumes.  Landowners are asked to move the wood waste to a location on their property with suitable access for trucks. The landowners can then contact us on 0800 108 838 or 06 835 9200 as we will coordinate with a contractor for its removal. 

Post Cyclone Gabrielle 2023 large woody debris assessment

There is a significant amount of damaged tanalised or treated timber posts and wire from horticultural and viticultural properties. While thousands of these posts have been collected since the cyclone, the Taskforce has now partnered with to repurpose these posts into Sustainable Fencing to be reused.

Repost repurpose broken posts by grading them, removing nails, clips and plastic, cutting them to size and then bundling them up ready for farmers' fence lines.

 Cost of repurposing posts and wire

The Taskforce will pay for the cost of posts that can be collected and then reused elsewhere in the community. The Taskforce is working with groups like Federated Farmers to set up a post distribution system to landowners that need them. We will have more information shortly on how this will work.

Where a landowner wants their posts to be reused on their property, they will need to cover the cost of repurposing. Typically, it costs $4.50 per post to repurpose based on 1000 posts per day, significantly cheaper than the estimated $19 to dispose one post at landfill.

To register your interest for your posts and wires to be collected and have Repost provide you with a quote please contact Repost at or call Greg on 027 2511124 or Liam on 022 525 0130.

The Council recommends that you discuss this option with your farm advisor or agronomist.  Click here to find a list of New Zealand Institute of Primary Industry Management approved consultants.

The Silt Recovery Taskforce assessment officer can help you work through what silt should be removed, or if it stays how this could be integrated. For  specialist advice please speak to a specialist advisor. Contact 0800 108 838 or email to get in touch with an assessment officer.

Some useful resources to help you with any discussions are linked below:


Revegetating Cropping Soils after a Flood

Beef + Lamb NZ

Recovering from a Flood

Dairy NZ

Flood damage response

Sustainable Faming Fund

Silt Recovery Lower North Island Storm Event 2004


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