One of five agencies that collectively contributed more than $3 million towards cleaning up a hazardous waste site in Northland will seek a court order to recoup costs from the polluters.
Whangārei District Council stumped up $1m to clean up the site at Allis Bloy Pl in Ruakākā where about 800,000 litres of chemicals and 400,000 litres of bund water were stored.
Ministry for the Environment gave $2m, WDC $1m, WorkSafe and EPA $150,000 each, and the Northland Regional Council $50,000.
They were forced to do it after companies and individuals responsible for the untidy state of the site failed to take action despite orders from the Environment Court.
The court orders were against Sustainable Solvents Group and Sustainable Solvents director Brian Smith, and Auckland-based Solvent Services New Zealand directors John Manus Pretorius and Aaron Baldwin.
WDC lawyers are preparing legal papers on cost recovery to be filed in the Environment Court. The deadline is January 28.
EPA said it made a one-off contribution to help begin the clean-up and was not seeking to recover costs.
WorkSafe refused to comment other than to say issues relating to costs incurred were currently before the Environment Court.
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Pretorius said his company was in talks with WDC and wished to reserve his comments for now.
Environment Minister David Parker earlier said provisions in the Resource Management Act hampered his ministry from taking legal action against those responsible for the site and the clean-up.
Smith didn't wish to make any comment other than he had not been contacted by any of the agencies involved in the clean-up.
Sustainable Solvents Group has been removed from the companies' register but Smith's other company is still listed.
Specialist waste management company InterGroup Ltd has removed the hazardous waste and a final report is due by the end of March.
An estimated 490,000 litres of solvents and contaminated water, 2.9 million litres of contaminated bund water, 300 tonnes of solvent sludge, 75 tonnes of general non-hazardous waste, and 4300 containers and drums have been removed.
Solvents were stored in old, damaged, rusty and leaking drums and containers on the property, posing significant risks to the environment.