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Published: 2016-08-19 00:00:00

Use of best industry practice in erosion and sediment control during earthworks projects in Waikato is becoming the new norm, says Waikato Regional Council.

“It’s a fantastic outcome and shows how much effort the earthworks industry, working with the council, has put into lifting performance in recent years,” said land development team leader Jorge Rodriguez.

“Best practice in erosion and sediment control is now the norm on a large number of earthworks sites, both big and small.”

Mr Rodriguez’s comments follow a best practice awards ceremony at Waikato Regional Council’s Hamilton offices today to acknowledge the industry’s top performers.

The number of entries and nominations in this year’s awards reflected the wide range of different projects being undertaken across our region from small scale permitted activities to large scale roading projects. They illustrated the high current level of environmental awareness in the industry.

Innovation was also recognised with an award to Fulton Hogan for using a new type of grass to stabilise areas prone to slipping along state highway 23, where slips are a recurrent problem.

The winners were:

Innovation award

Fulton Hogan, West Waikato – for the trial using Vetiver grass to help prevent slips along SH23. Means to stabilise slip prone areas in a cost effective manner while minimising traffic disruption was needed.  The trial use of Vetiver grass to stabilise a bare cut batter prone to erosion has proven to be a very successful trial to date.

Large site award

Fulton Hogan/HEB Alliance – for exceptional approaches to erosion and sediment control on the very difficult Huntly Section of the Waikato Expressway site.

Medium site award

Schick Civil Construction – for a consistent and proactive approach towards self-monitoring at the SH3/Airport Road intersection upgrade near Hamilton.

Small site award (joint winners)

Waikato District Alliance and Seay Earthmovers – for a proactive approach to erosion and sediment control on difficult and rapidly changing sites during the construction of culvert structures.

Forestry award (joint winners)

  • PF Olsen Limited and McKay Logging (McKay & Olsen Limited) in recognition of the effort made to work with Waikato Regional Council during harvesting to avoid accelerated erosion
  • Hancock Forest Management/A&G Sinton Hauler/Tractor Logging for preventing accelerated erosion and sediment exportation.

Mr Rodriguez said the council’s rules are designed to prevent sediment from such projects from running off into waterways as it can seriously affect aquatic life and water quality.

“There really has been a greater effort recently across the board by the earthworks industry to carry out projects in an environmentally sensitive way. We believe there’s a range of reasons for this better performance, including our education programmes and Waikato Regional Council’s collaborative approach to working with the industry.”

For example, over the past decade the council has had hundreds of people through its erosion and sediment control workshops. And, over the past 12 months, there has been a focused programme within the earthworks and building industries to ensure that adequate erosion and sediment controls are installed and maintained throughout the duration of works on any development site.

This has resulted in a substantial decrease in enforcement actions undertaken even though the overall consented activity and the number of active earthworks sites has increased considerably in the last two years. “All award winners and nominees have made a fantastic effort to exceed compliance expectations in implementing best practice erosion and sediment controls for earthworks,” Mr Rodriguez said.