1080 STORAGE SHED FLOODED – WHY HAVE WE NOT HEARD ABOUT THIS?
By Carol Sawyer
On 25 and 26 March, 2019, extremely severe rainfall caused extensive flooding on the West Coast of the South Island. The bridge over the Waiho River at Franz Josef was swept away., and the State Highway, the only access road up the Coast, cut in two.
Further south, on the banks of the Okuru River just south of Haast, is Nolan Road, home to members of the Nolan family and JJ Nolan, owner of ‘JJ Nolan’s Transport Ltd’. JJ Nolan’s transport has, for very many years, transported 1080 poison baits south from Whanganui to the South Island, to Haast, Makarora, etc. … to 1080 drop loading zones, or to Northern Southland Transport in Te Anau, who then move it on to 1080 drop loading zones, etc. Nolan trucks are travelling south from Whanganui right now, in fact. They are part of the big 1080 Gravy Train.
On Nolan Road, Okuru, is a shed used for storing 1080 poison baits. This latest flood swept through the properties pictured above in the aerial photograph, including, I am told, the 1080 storage shed. It is rumoured the shed contained at least 25 tonnes of 1080 baits at the time. As you can see (photo slide show below), this four bay shed could hold a large amount of 1080 poison baits. 25 tonnes is only approximately one truck and trailer unit. You can see a truck and trailer curtain-sider beside the storage shed, which gives you some idea. Only half the depth of the storage shed is visible in the street view photos, by the way.
(These photos were taken completely legally from Nolan Road, which is a public road. The ‘Closed area’ sign at Nolan Creek refers to whitebaiting. It says “Nolan Creek – This waterway is closed to whitebait fishing”)
Floods in this area are not new. Here is a video of a massive flood in the Haast area in 1994;
Why, then,would you build a 1080 storage shed in a flood-prone area?! Why did DoC give this contractor permission to store 1080 baits here? The second aerial photo shows old river courses (marked with red dotted lines) ! This is not a place one should even store chook food!!
1080 poison disperses in water quickly and easily, so imagine floodwaters ebbing away and imagine how enormous the concentration of pure 1080 poison in the last water to leach out of fadges of baits would be ! (1) (2)
The first property you come to on Nolan Road, I have been told, belongs to Maurice and Kathleen Nolan. In the Otago Daily Times (8 April, 2019), it is reported of this house:
“Wild weather lashed the West Coast last month, forcing the postponement of the calf sale for a week – and flooding Mr and Mrs Nolan’s house, the water reaching over the top of their dining room chairs”
TVOne News apparently reported a cottage on the next property along ( the one with the storage shed on it ) as being destroyed by the flood, too.
I am told the occupiers of all three of these properties had to move to the local camping ground after the flood.
The photos show the property with the 1080 storage shed and also show you Nolan Creek, a bit further along the road, to give you some idea of flood damage. Nolan Creek runs just metres behind the 1080 storage shed, incidentally, then crosses Nolan Road and runs into the Okuru River.
The high flood level is evident from the grass hanging on the fence and the silage plastic wrapped around the top of the fence in front of the 1080 storage shed.
If it is true, as rumoured, that the shed contained a minimum of 25 tonnes of 1080 baits at the time, I should explain to you how very lethal this is :
25 tonnes of 1080 baits contain 37.5 kgs of pure 1080 poison.
The LD50 for a human being: “Based on fatal or near-fatal cases of human poisonings, the dangerous dose for humans is 0.5-2.0 mg/kg BW (Negherbon 1959)”
If we take the lowest figure that means that 35mgs pure 1080 poison can kill a 70 kg adult human being.
Therefore 25 tonnes of 1080 baits contain enough pure 1080 poison to kill as many as 540,000 people and poison another 540,000!!!
SHOULD ENOUGH 1080 TO KILL 540,000 ADULT HUMANS BE STORED IN A FLOOD-PRONE SHED?!!
Streetviews – Joel Lund
Captions and graphics on aerial views – Richard Healey
Photos of flooded fenceposts on drive of first Nolan property – sent to me anonymously.
‘JJ Nolan’ truck at aerial 1080 drop, Makarora – February, 2017 – Carol Sawyer
Richard Healey comments on this information :
“Hmmm… that shed is likely to have standard 6m bays, but lets be conservative and say 5m. That makes the height to the top of the doors a bit over 4m. The shed is 70% as deep as it is wide so 14m.
That makes the volume somewhere around 1,100 cubic metres. If you were to fill that to the top with wheat that would be 870 Tonne so 25T would take up about 1/32 of the space. I’m picking that bait doesn’t pack anywhere as well as wheat but it does show just how much 1080 bait you could stack in there.
At 0.15% pure 1080, and assuming that bait is 60% as dense as wheat, that’s a maximum of 783kg of highly water soluble toxin in a tanalised-post farm shed, on a flood plain, with no bunding or other containment measures. Even if it’s near the rumoured 25T that would amount to more than 37kg of pure 1080. Who issued the permit for that storage?!”
(1) Studies reported in the ERMA Reassessment of 1080 in 2007 showed that 1080 leached readily out of baits that were made wet by sprinklers:
“rapid decline [in 1080 concentration in cereal baits on turf under sprinklers] (ERMA Agency Appendix C page 380)
“1080 was detected in soil under the baits after 20mm rain, reaching a maximum after 100mm and close to the LOD after 250 mm” (ERMA Agency Appendix C page 381)
Also one of the reasons for its low rate of detection in water samples taken after 1080 drops was rapid loss of 1080 from the baits in water:
“the reason for so many non-detects in water monitoring..may be partly due to..rapid..dilution or loss of 1080 from, and disintegration of..baits within the first 12 hours of deposition..the author [Suren, 2006] recommends sampling within 4-8 hours..frequently resource consents require monitoring one day or more after..the operation” ERMA Agency Appendix E page 473″S
(2) Richard Healey comments again :
“There have been a couple of studies that give some clues about what happens to the 1080 when it comes into contact with water. Ogilvie, in “Uptake of 1080 by Watercress and Puha – Culturally Important plants used for food”, has a couple of observations that give a clue as to how contaminated the land around the Okuru will now be:
“A study by Suren (2006) examined the fate of 1080 baits in a controlled laboratory flow tank, and found 50% of the 1080 leached after 5 hours submerged in the water, and >90% leached after 24 hours, thus being very rapid. While the flow rate used in Suren’s (2006) controlled experiment was faster than the flow rates recorded here (0.2 L/sec as opposed to an overall stream flow of 0.042 – 0.044 L/sec in this research), it still indicates the rapid deterioration and leaching of 1080 from baits submerged in flowing water”.
That study also shows that Watercress is particularly good at sucking 1080 out of water and concentrating it in plant material. The authors couldn’t find detectable levels of 1080 in water 14 hours after dropping baits into a very gentle stream, yet toxicity within the plants continued to build for the next seven days to a peak level of 63 ppb. The study methodology and reporting are however woeful.
It doesn’t seem to have occurred to the authors that water velocity is likely to be an important factor and so they give flow rates (for an undefined cross-section) which tells us nothing about how much water passed over each bait. They then confuse the issue by labeling flow rate as velocity.
One thing is absolutely certain however, someone should be checking the inventory log for that shed and sampling the hell out of the surrounding area.”