Hazardous Substances

Agricultural Chemicals

There is clear evidence of the health risks and negative environmental impacts of with inappropriate disposal of chemicals, specifically in relation to waste plastics. Chemical recycling opportunities have also significantly increased in the last 5-10 years.  Agrecovery is a a not-for-profit charitable trust, and is designed to help reduce both the environmental and health risks of doing things “the way they’ve always been done”.  Burning or burying these products and their packaging is no longer accepted practice, this is not necessary due to the nationwide availability of Agrecovery services. Keeping old or unwanted agrichemicals stored on your property presents an unnecessary risk to staff and family, livestock, pets and the environment.

Agrecovery uses qualified chemical contractors for the collection and disposal of your unwanted agricultural chemicals. Chemicals are disposed as appropriate according to New Zealand regulations. Depending on the class of chemical, these are either disposed of in New Zealand or in France in special high temperature incineration plants.

However, Agrecovery does not take household or garden chemicals. If you would like to know more about the criteria for disposing of these items, please email the Tararua District Councils Environmental Health Officer for more information info@tararuadc.govt.nz.


Asbestos and asbestos related building products and materials up until the 1990s were commonly used in New Zealand construction due to its strength, durability and resistance to fire and water.  Worksafe New Zealand is the agency responsible for the legislation that manages the removal and disposal of these hazardous materials under the Health and Safety at Work (Asbestos) Regulations 2016. Worksafe have a range of fact sheets available for Asbestos including locations where asbestos may be found in the home, personal protective equipment to use if working with asbestos and guidelines for the disposal of asbestos waste.

If you suspect that you may have asbestos in the home and would like to get it tested it is recommended that you contact a Worksafe licenced contractor for further information. At this time, there are no registered contractors available in the Tararua District and you may need to look to the Hawkes Bay or the Manawatu regions for assistance. The approved licence holder register can be found here.

If the testing comes back positive for asbestos there is no cause for concern if the product is in good condition, free from damage and is contained within a few layers of good quality paint. However if the asbestos is damaged, you may want to start thinking about contacting a professional for advice. You should also think about the areas  on external claddings, including fibre cement products that you maybe drilling into as this may incidentally expose you to asbestos dusts. Under no circumstances should you water blast Super Six cement roof sheeting or attempt to remove large amounts of asbestos yourself, especially decorative coatings (stippled) on internal ceiling linings without first testing for asbestos.

Unfortunately, in the Tararua District there are no approved facilities where you can dispose of hazardous wastes containing asbestos. For more information for disposal of asbestos it is recommended that you contact the Rangitikei District Council or the Central Hawkes' Bay District Council for fees and restrictions for accepting hazardous materials.

Methamphetamine Testing

Clandestine methamphetamine (meth) laboratories or ‘clan labs’ have been a growing problem in New Zealand. In recent years the number of homes affected by recreational use of substance users has increased and it is becoming more common place to test properties for contamination.

Contamination may be left on hard surfaces such as wall linings and in absorbent materials (carpets, furniture), sinks, drains and ventilation systems. If you suspect that your property, or one that you are looking at purchasing maybe contaminated it is recommended that you contact an independent methamphetamine testing agency to undertake these tests.  There are three types of tests available, these include:

  • Indicative testing - This test will identify if there is a presence of methamphetamine in the property. You should be aware that that these tests are not an absolute and will not identify the level of contamination. The results will subject to the testers experience and type of test kits used.
  • Composite testing - A sample of swabs will be obtained from areas identified by the tester, usually based on experience. This type of testing will give you an overall result of the areas tested, but will not be able to identify which areas led to the positive result. This type of test should be sent to an accredited laboratory for analysis.
  • De composite testing - This type of testing will swap an area room by room, and will be sent to an accredited laboratory for analysis. Based on the results you will be able to make an informed decision and commence remediation.

There are a number of methamphetamine testing agencies in the Manawatu and Hawke's Bay areas, it is recommended that you loo in the yellow pages or undertake a Google search. Things to look for when choosing a contractor are the type and range of tests that they offer, Training and adherence to the Ministry of Health Guidelines for testing and remediation for contaminated properties. Currently, Central Government New Zealand are developing Standards to regulate the testing and remediation of decontamination of methamphetamine