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Contaminated land

This page contains information on contaminated land management within the Hawke’s Bay region.You can also enquire about contaminated land information that we hold on a property of interest.

What is contaminated land

The past use and storage of hazardous substances have left a legacy of soil contamination in urban and rural areas of New Zealand. Land may become contaminated through the use, manufacture, storage, disposal or spillage of hazardous substances. Most contamination has been caused by historic practices that are considered unacceptable by today’s standards however some land can be naturally high in hazardous substances, such as arsenic. Contaminated sites are often associated with industrial activities, but commercial, agricultural and residential land uses or activities can also result in contamination. The Ministry for the environment has put together an Hazardous Activities and Industries List to help identify sites where contamination may have occurred.

Hazardous substances were not always used or stored on all sites occupied by each activity or industry. However, such activities and industries are more likely to use or store hazardous substances and therefore there is a greater probability of site contamination occurring.

The presence and levels of contaminants can affect the suitability of the land for different land use scenarios such as industrial, recreational residential.

orchardRisks associated with contaminated land

Contaminants in the soil can cause adverse effects on both human health and the environment through both short-term and long-term exposure. The migration of contaminants may result in contamination of other land, sediment, air, groundwater or surface water, both at the source of contamination and at locations remote from the source.

It is, therefore, necessary to identify, prioritise, investigate, and remediate or manage any land in the Hawke’s Bay where such adverse effects occur.

What we’re doing about contaminated land

The Hawke’s Bay Regional Council maintains a land use register of properties where information is held regarding current or past land-uses that have the potential to contaminate land. Information on the register is shared with local district and city councils to ensure protection of people and the environment. Information on this register is independent of Land Information Memorandums (LIM) provided by District and City Councils.

If one of the activities listed in the Hazardous Activities and Industries List is occurring, or has occurred in the past, on a piece of land, then it is considered a ‘HAIL’ site. Hail sites are categorised differently depending on what we know about the site;

- Verified Non HAIL: HAIL Did Not Occur
- Unverified HAIL:
- Verified HAIL: Risk Not Quantified
- Verified HAIL: At or Below Background (Natural State)
- Verified HAIL: At or Below Background (Remediated)
- Verified HAIL: Managed For Land Use
- Verified HAIL: Suitable for Land Use (Natural State)
- Verified HAIL: Suitable for Land Use (Remediated)
- Verified HAIL: Contaminated for Land Use (Environment)
- Verified HAIL: Contaminated for Land Use (Human Health)

Some land contamination is managed using resource consents, especially for closed and operational landfills. Where an investigation has been completed, results have been compared to relevant soil guideline values which can determine what land uses are appropriate. Remediation of contaminated land involves removing hazardous substances from the land or limiting the exposure to users of the site. Remediation can allow contaminated land to be brought back into use, often while improving environmental and public health.

Add a subheadingWhat rules apply to contaminated land

If your land has been identified as a HAIL site, it does not mean that it is contaminated, only that it has been used for an activity that could have resulted in contamination. It is unlikely that you would have to undertake any sort of investigation unless you choose to do so. However, if you chose to undertake any of the following activities on your land you may be asked to provide further information or soil sampling to ensure there is no increased risk to health or the environment by carrying out that activity.

- Undertaking earthworks
- Replacing an underground fuel storage system
- Subdividing or changing the land use
- Soil sampling for contmaination

This further information is required under the National Environmental Standard for Assessing and Managing Contaminants in Soil to Protect Human Health (NEC:CS) and is implemented by the City and District Councils.

The NES creates a nationally consistent set of planning controls around the disturbance, subdivision, and land use change of potentially contaminated land. For more information see the Ministry for the Environment’s website or contact your City or District Council planning team.

Enquire about contaminated land

Information held on the register can be requested as a site contamination report which contains information such as previous land uses, resource consents, pollution incidents and any investigations undertaken at the site. If you would like to request a site contamination report regarding a specific property or piece of land please complete the form below. 

If your request involves an area or several parcels please email your request and details of the parcels to

The database is continually under development, and should not be regarded as a complete record of all properties in the Hawke’s Bay. The absence of available information does not necessarily mean that the property is uncontaminated; rather that no information exists on the database. You may also wish to examine the property file at the relevant City or District Council to check if there is any evidence that activities occurring on the HAIL have taken place.

As per Hawke's Bay Regional Council’s Long Term Plan 2021-2031 (Part 6, Financials - section 1.4: here) all contaminated land reports will incur a fee, based on the actual and reasonable time associated with the request. This will be confirmed with the requestor prior to undertaking any work associated with the request.

Follow this link if the form fails to load. online form.

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While every endeavour has been taken by the Hawke's Bay Regional Council to ensure that the information on this website is accurate and up to date, Hawke's Bay Regional Council shall not be liable for any loss suffered through the use, directly or indirectly, of information on this website. Information contained has been assembled in good faith. Some of the information available in this site is from the New Zealand Public domain and supplied by relevant government agencies. Hawke's Bay Regional Council cannot accept any liability for its accuracy or content. Portions of the information and material on this site, including data, pages, documents, online graphics and images are protected by copyright, unless specifically notified to the contrary. Externally sourced information or material is copyright to the respective provider.

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