Channel Infrastructure is committed to maintaining the high standard of environmental performance and protecting the unique environment in which we operate. We take these commitments very seriously, because Marsden Point is our home too.
Our environmental commitments extend beyond carbon emissions to include waste, wastewater, land contamination and erosion, all of which we are committed to managing responsibly, in a way that minimises the impacts of our operations on the surrounding environment.
Over the past few years, while still operating the refinery, we’ve implemented a ‘no spill’ policy and invested $25 million into site cleaning, preventing hydrocarbons leaving the site, and bolstering the resilience of our water treatment systems.
Our transition to Channel Infrastructure is already reducing the impact of our operations on the surrounding environment. We will be maintaining our focus on reducing legacy hydrocarbon impacts to groundwater through the ongoing operation of our network of groundwater monitoring and recovery wells.
Our Marsden Point site was recently granted by the Northland Regional Council a Resource Consent to operate for another 35-year term. This consent was granted following a detailed environmental impact assessment of our processes, and operations. This assessment reviewed our operations’ effects on the harbour, land, air quality and the surrounding community. As a condition of the resource consent, we have committed to strict protections to maintaining the current level of high environmental standards, and to ensure any current and future operations that take place on our site do so in a responsible manner.
Protecting the land on which we operate
Our robust land management systems are designed to ensure our past, current, and future operations will continue to have minimal impact on the environment around us.
These systems include:
- Regular monitoring and testing of our groundwater well network to measure hydrocarbon contamination under the site
- Monitoring of the 28 wells around our boundary. This provides a good picture of the groundwater quality leaving our site
- Use of recovery wells which contain and remove hydrocarbon contamination under the site
- Management of earthworks and site disturbance in accordance with our Ground Contamination Management Plan
- Assessment of soils during works where they are potentially contaminated to determine if the soil is suitable for use on site
- A robust permit to work system, which requires us to put in place controls to minimise risk to our workers and the environment. All work on site requires a permit to work.
- Clean up of any leaks or spillages on site
- An awareness of historic site practices which ensures adequate environmental controls are in place prior to the execution of any significant works on site.
Waste management systems
Steel, aluminium, paper and other waste from the Marsden Point site is recycled responsibly. As part of our waste management programme, we recycle more than 190 tonnes of material, including steel, aluminium and paper every year.
All stormwater, the effluent from the water treatment plant and groundwater is collected in our stormwater basin prior to discharge to Whangarei Harbour. Our discharge is continually monitored to ensure it remains within the strict quality limits of our resource consent.
Erosion management strategy
Recent studies have observed and confirmed evidence of erosion at the site boundary, and identified the future possibility of ongoing erosion events, such as storms and tsunamis aggravated by sea level rise and changing weather patterns because of climate change.
Our erosion management strategy aims to manage the dynamic coastal environment in which we operate in a way that provides resilience to our nationally significant infrastructure while appropriately recognising its wider social, cultural, and environmental values.
In 2013, the site experienced significant coastal erosion events and subsequently undertook coastal works to build a buried seawall, and re-establish the beach and dunes over the sea wall. We also developed a comprehensive Coastal Erosion Management Strategy. The strategy includes monitoring of the dunes of coastal foreshore to track movement or recession over time. Our mapping along with information from the Regional Council has been used to predict and track expected retreat of the dunes over the next 35- to 50-years. This is so that we can make the necessary investments now to manage the potential retreat from land that is most at risk of weather-related impacts over this time period.
We are currently developing a Cultural Landscape Management Plan with Iwi which, among other things, will include a strategy to improve dune resilience to erosion events.