HAIL Environmental was awarded Best Regional Remedial Project for the management of the Kopeopeo Canal Remediation Project at the Australasian Land and Groundwater Association's Annual Industry Excellence Awards, November 2019. HAIL Environmental project manager Brendon Love comments: "Regional remediation projects often struggle to get completed. Commonly this is due to land values not being able to support remediation costs. In such circumstances we are reliant on government funds such as the Ministry for the Environments’ Contaminated Site Remediation Fund to carry out remediation projects. There are many contaminated sites in regional New Zealand like the Kopeopeo Canal Remediation Project; but with limited government funds, sites become prioritised for remediation. This is where advocacy groups and passionate individuals within the community step in, to volunteer time and speak out to ensure that such sites are not forgotten. Joe Harawira campaigned for decades on behalf of the Whakatane community to get dioxin-related health risks recognised. It is partly through his efforts that the Kopeopeo Remediation Project was completed. Where development related profits are not funding remediation efforts, I think that we need to be mindful that we are spending taxpayer and ratepayer money and ensure that the project outcome meets community needs without incurring excessive costs. In my view the Kopeopeo Canal Remediation Project is a good example of getting this balance right. The selected remediation method encompassed cultural aspects, community concerns, flood management, and clean up targets protective of fish tissue consumption exposure pathways. We were challenged to come up with a method that provided full containment during extraction and transfer of sediment, and to use locally developed enhanced natural degradation methods to reduce contaminant levels. I’m very proud of what we achieved on this project. I say WE because there are many individuals and ALGA-affiliated organisations that contributed to making this project a success. Barbara Campany at GHD for her support with stakeholder engagement, and Andrew Kohlrusch and Matt James for fulfilling the roles of Independent Monitor. Ted Wilson at Tonkin and Taylor for Engineer to Contract, Golder Associates for environmental monitoring and validation, Freshwater Solutions for ecological services, WSP Opus for pilot study monitoring, and Des McCleary and the team at EnviroWaste Services and their subcontractors, for completing the physical works. Also, to our project team and support staff at the Bay of Plenty Regional Council. You have been wonderful to work with over the years. Special acknowledgement to Ken Tarboton and Bruce Crabbe who have been involved in the project since the first sample was collected back in 2005. I would also like to acknowledge and thank the Bay of Plenty Regional Council and Ministry for the Environment and their elected officials for their commitment to addressing this legacy issue which has affected so many within the Whakatane community over the years. Lastly to all the members of the Whakatane Community, the Community Liaison Group, the Project Steering Group. Thank you for your trust and support. We did it for you."