The future of the Southern Landfill

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Update on the proposed landfill extension August 2020


The landfill is strategic infrastructure for the City. Each year we dispose of around 60,000 tonnes of municipal solid waste there, plus 15,000 tonnes of sewage sludge.

Ideally in New Zealand today, we wouldn’t use landfills to dispose of our waste. In the longer term, we think it is possible that landfills might be phased out, as is signalled by:

  • The Government increasing the landfill levy, which will make alternatives to landfilling more cost effective.
  • Increases in the price of carbon which will eventually have the same effect.
  • Council’s own initiative to divert sewage sludge away from the Southern Landfill.
  • Increasing community awareness around waste, and reluctance to landfill.

These signals will all gain traction in the coming years. While change is inevitable and positive, in the meantime we still need to dispose of our waste. An important consideration is that the landfill generates a significant operating surplus (around $7m per annum) that is used to fund kerbside recycling and other waste minimisation initiatives. Without the landfill, we will need to find this revenue from another source.

We have only a few years consented capacity remaining at the Southern Landfill, and so are seeking to develop options. Over the last year we have been preparing to lodge a resource consent application to extend the landfill (now on hold). Unsurprisingly, this has attracted attention and resistance. Broadly, this has been generated from:

  • Community concerns about the potential effects on the environment
  • Residents groups concerned about traffic and other potential effects.
  • Concerns that the engagement process to date has not been sufficiently extensive.
  • Seeking to better understand the relationship between the landfill and the sludge minimisation project.
  • Concerns that the Council might be seeking to maximise waste and revenue.

We are listening to these concerns and working to better address them prior to progressing the chosen option.

Our intention is to provide further advice to Councillors, with a view to formal public engagement in February 2021. No consent application will be lodged until we have completed this process.

Once we’ve briefed Councillors, we will continue to give you updates via the Let’s Talk page and, in the meantime, if you’re got any questions please check out the FAQs or feel free to get in touch by email Landfill@wcc.govt.nz

Update on the proposed landfill extension August 2020


The landfill is strategic infrastructure for the City. Each year we dispose of around 60,000 tonnes of municipal solid waste there, plus 15,000 tonnes of sewage sludge.

Ideally in New Zealand today, we wouldn’t use landfills to dispose of our waste. In the longer term, we think it is possible that landfills might be phased out, as is signalled by:

  • The Government increasing the landfill levy, which will make alternatives to landfilling more cost effective.
  • Increases in the price of carbon which will eventually have the same effect.
  • Council’s own initiative to divert sewage sludge away from the Southern Landfill.
  • Increasing community awareness around waste, and reluctance to landfill.

These signals will all gain traction in the coming years. While change is inevitable and positive, in the meantime we still need to dispose of our waste. An important consideration is that the landfill generates a significant operating surplus (around $7m per annum) that is used to fund kerbside recycling and other waste minimisation initiatives. Without the landfill, we will need to find this revenue from another source.

We have only a few years consented capacity remaining at the Southern Landfill, and so are seeking to develop options. Over the last year we have been preparing to lodge a resource consent application to extend the landfill (now on hold). Unsurprisingly, this has attracted attention and resistance. Broadly, this has been generated from:

  • Community concerns about the potential effects on the environment
  • Residents groups concerned about traffic and other potential effects.
  • Concerns that the engagement process to date has not been sufficiently extensive.
  • Seeking to better understand the relationship between the landfill and the sludge minimisation project.
  • Concerns that the Council might be seeking to maximise waste and revenue.

We are listening to these concerns and working to better address them prior to progressing the chosen option.

Our intention is to provide further advice to Councillors, with a view to formal public engagement in February 2021. No consent application will be lodged until we have completed this process.

Once we’ve briefed Councillors, we will continue to give you updates via the Let’s Talk page and, in the meantime, if you’re got any questions please check out the FAQs or feel free to get in touch by email Landfill@wcc.govt.nz

  • Update on proposed Landfill extension 27.07.2020

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    27 July, 2020

    We have received some feedback from the community about the Stage 4 process, and we are seeking our own legal advice.

    It’s complicated, and takes time.

    We will respond formally when we are in a position to do so.

    At this stage, no further work is being done with regards to Stage 4.

    Once we have completed the legal review, it remains our intention to share all relevant information and provide adequate time to provide feedback and engage with us prior to lodging any consents.

    The project is likely to be delayed.

  • Top topics from March

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    07 April, 2020

    On 8th and 10th of March we held the third series of public information sessions to update local communities on progress on the proposed extension to the Southern Landfill.

    At these sessions we were discussing the technical studies that have been underway, some of our findings and some plans for the future in the areas being studied – Land, Air, Roads, People and Water. We also discussed the ecology of the site, what we found and some of the options we are considering for the future.

    We talked about options for restoration planting of the Landfill once it is closed so that it fits into the surrounding environment. The emphasis will be on native plants that are present in the surrounding area.

    Waste minimisation was another popular topic. We talked about the initiatives that Wellington City Council has developed or is developing together with national and regional programmes that are supported City wide.

    Ecology

    Planting

    Tech Studies 1

    Tech Studies 2

    Waste Min

    Map A4

  • Monitoring water quality around the Southern Landfill

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    13 March, 2020

    How can the public access the information from the Landfill about water monitoring levels?

    What are you monitoring for?

    We do specific tests at the Southern Landfill as part of the conditions of our consent for operating the Landfill.

    The water tests are taken at points within the Careys Gully stream adjacent to the Southern Landfill itself.

    1. Careys Gully stream upstream of the Landfill

    2. Careys Gully stream downstream of the Landfill

    3. Four boreholes that access the ground water in various locations adjacent to the Landfill.

    4. Leachate collected by our pipes (tested at a manhole)

    We do the following tests on ALL the sites monthly.

    • pH
    • BOD5
    • Nitrate-Nitrogen
    • Copper
    • Chromium
    • Conductivity
    • Iron
    • Aluminium
    • Lead
    • Dissolved (Reactive, Phosphorus)
    • NH4-N
    • Manganese
    • Boron
    • Zinc
    • Cadmium
    • Faecal Coliforms
    • Chlorides
    • Arsenic
    • Nickel


    On top of this we also conduct Macro Invertebrate Sampling to get a Macroinvertebrate Community Index (MCI) score.

    Test are collected by a third party and sent to a laboratory for testing to ensure independence.

    Reports are sent to the Southern Landfill and a third party peer reviewer monthly.

    If we find issues that could be considered to be a breach of our consent, we alert Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC) as well as our Community Liaison Group (CLG). The CLG is made up of representatives from the Greater Regional Wellington Council, Wellington Water, the sludge dewatering plant operators, the Landfill operators, the Greater Brooklyn Residents Association, Owhiro Bay Residents Association and Council’s Waste Operations officers.

    At the end of each year, the water quality sampling results are compiled and reviewed by a third party reviewer and sent to the Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC) as part of our annual Southern Landfill Compliance report.

    GWRC then reviews the information using their own third party experts required and once satisfied provide us with a compliance document.

    2018 Extract Southern Landfill Compliance Report.pdf

    2019 SLF Aecom Testing for Annual Compliance Report.pdf

  • Drop-in and find out more about the draft design

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    11 March, 2020

    Our next set of drop-in sessions will be held in March. Come along and see the draft design, check out information on the technical studies and find out about the next steps.

    Here’s a recap of where we’re at

    • Alternatives have been investigated and the option for the immediate future has been determined – extending the Landfill.
    • Technical studies to assist with the design are being finalised.
    • A draft concept design for the extension is being developed.

    Want to know more?

    Come along to one of our drop-in sessions:

    Date

    Time

    Where

    Address

    Sunday 8 March

    11am to 1pm

    Brooklyn Community Centre

    18 Harrison Street

    Sunday 8 March

    2pm to 4pm

    Ōwhiro Bay School Hall

    96 Happy Valley Road

    Tuesday 10 March

    11.30am to 1pm

    Wellington City Council

    Level 16, 113 The Terrace

    Tuesday 10 March

    4.15pm to 6pm

    Brooklyn Deli

    199 Ohiro Road


    Tell us what you think

    We’d love to hear your views at one of our drop-in sessions. If you can’t make it along we’ll be posting information on this page (after 8 March) and you can tell us what you think on the feedback button below, or email us at Landfill@wcc.govt.nz or call us on 04 499 4444.

  • Landfill by the numbers

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    14 January, 2020
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    More than 100,000 tonnes of waste comes to the Southern Landfill every year so what happens to it all?

    From that almost 20,000 tonnes is diverted, salvaged or recycled every year.

    • Green waste diverted to compost – approximately 5,800 tonnes per year

    • Food waste diverted to compost – approximately 1,600 tonnes per year

    • Scrap metal diversion – approximately 575 tonnes per year

    • Salvaged material and voluntary drop offs at the Tip Shop – estimated at 250 tonnes per year

    • Recycling from kerbside and the free recycling drop off – approximately 11,500 tonnes per year.

    The remaining material is either too dangerous to be diverted, e.g. asbestos contaminated material, or there is currently no large scale and economically sustainable facilities that can divert this waste so it needs to be landfilled.

    That said, we are always on the lookout for opportunities for diversion.

    We helped start Kai to Compost, a bespoke private food waste collection service geared to service café’s, restaurants and businesses in the Wellington area. We have seen it grow to the point it is now run by a private waste company with the resources to improve the service.

    By May 2020, we expect to run a trial to divert household kitchen food waste. This trial will help inform us on the best methods of kitchen food waste diversion for Wellingtonians.

    There are some things YOU can do now to help us divert the waste that comes to the Southern Landfill.

    • Separate out your green waste – keep green waste separate from other waste. We can divert green waste to make compost at the Southern Landfill.

    • Keep building waste separate – separated wood can be dropped off at the Tip Shop. We can resell this timber. Metals can be dropped off at our scrap metal bin for free.

    • Stop by the Tip Shop before going to the transfer station or the tip face. We may be able to take some of your old furniture and sell it on to someone who needs it.

    • Take some time to understand what can and can’t be recycled, separate these out and use the Council’s free kerbside recycling collection service.

    • If you have large amounts of recyclable material, more than what can be taken as part of our kerbside recycling service, come to the Tip Shop at the Southern Landfill. We have bottle banks, paper/cardboard bins and plastic bins for you to drop off your recycling for free.

    • If you have a good idea on how to divert even more waste and are willing to make it work as a business, apply for one of our waste minimisation seed funds. We have funded successful diversion businesses like Again and Again.

    • If you hire businesses to do work on your behalf, e.g. a tradesman for a building project, ask them to separate any waste they produce to help with diversion and try to reuse material wherever possible.

    For more about what can be recycled visit https://wellington.govt.nz/services/environment-and-waste/rubbish-and-recycling/top-tips-for-rubbish-and-recycling

    For more about the Tip Shop visit https://www.facebook.com/TipShopWellington/ or https://www.trademe.co.nz



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  • Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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    20 December, 2019
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    Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from the Landfill team!

    We'll be taking a short break over Christmas and New Year and will be back on deck in early January 2020.

    If you have any questions, please email us on landfill@wcc.govt.nz and we'll be in touch when we are back on deck.

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  • Let's Talk about the top topics now

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    09 December, 2019

    We really enjoyed talking with everyone who attended the second set of community information sessions we held recently. Thanks for coming along.

    Key issues were similar to those at the first series of meetings with a couple of extra subjects coming up.

    The top three topics were waste minimisation, the effects of the traffic including noise and dust as well as the volume of traffic, and the difficulty of understanding which council regulates what at the landfills in Wellington (Wellington City Council or Greater Wellington Regional Council).

    Other issues of interest were recycling initiatives, dealing with sewage sludge in the future, impact on water both in the Ōwhiro Stream and groundwater and long term plans for reinstatement of the land and stream after the closure of this stage of the Landfill.

    Residents of Hawkins Hill Road and others close to the Landfill boundaries wanted to know more about windblown litter and visual impacts of the extension to the Landfill for them. We will be looking at options to mitigate this.

    One of the other topics raised was the potential for noise impacts due to operations especially early morning and in the weekends.

    We’ve recorded all the feedback and questions we have received and are looking at the mitigations we can put in place to address the issues raised.

    Our next series of community information sessions is planned for the end of February 2020 where we will feedback on the issues raised this time and look at the design of the proposed Landfill extension.


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  • Thanks for your interest and coming along!

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    06 December, 2019
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    Over the last few days, we’ve completed a series of drop-in sessions in Brooklyn, Owhiro Bay and in Central Wellington. It was really great to meet everyone who came along to discuss the project with our project team from the Southern Landfill and Tonkin + Taylor.

    Thanks to everyone who took the time to come along and to those who took part in the Facebook Live Q&A.

    Lots of information came out of the discussions which we are now collating. We’ll be going into these in more depth here on Let’s Talk over the next few weeks.

    In the meantime, if you didn’t attend the Facebook Live Q&A you can review the questions and answers here https://www.facebook.com/events/529205860968116/.

    We are really interested in your feedback and any information you may have about the technical studies that are now underway. Please take the time to visit our feedback form where you can let us know your thoughts. Feedback closes on Monday 23 December. Feedback in Let's Talk.

    All the information we have received from the drop-in sessions and from Let’s Talk will be taken into account in the next stages of the project.

    There are two more sets of community sessions planned before the resource consent is applied for. Tentative dates are the end of February and the end of April. We look forward to seeing you then!


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  • Come along and find out more about the proposed Landfill extension

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    25 November, 2019

    Want to know how we landed on extending the Southern Landfill as the best option for managing the City’s waste, for now?

    Interested in what technical studies we’ll be doing to guide the design of the extension?

    Want to provide insights into the next steps?

    Then come along to one of our drop-in sessions starting this Sunday, 1 December.

    Date

    Time

    Where

    Address

    Sunday 1 December

    11am to 1pm

    Brooklyn Community Centre

    18 Harrison Street

    Sunday 1 December

    2pm – 4pm

    Ōwhiro Bay School Hall

    96 Happy Valley Road

    Tuesday 3 December

    11.30am – 1.30pm

    Facebook Live Q&A

    Wellington City Council Facebook Page

    Tuesday 3 December

    4.30pm – 6.30pm

    Penthouse Cinema

    205 Ohiro Road

    Wednesday 4 December

    11.30am – 1.30pm

    Wellington City Council

    Level 16, 113 The Terrace

    If you can’t make a session but would like more information, contact us by email Landfill@wcc.govt.nz or give us a call on (04) 499 4444.


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  • Drop in - it's time to talk technical

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    15 November, 2019

    We’re about to start our next round of community engagement on the proposed extension of the Southern Landfill.

    The assessment of different types of waste management alternatives concluded that extending the Landfill remains the most viable solution for now.

    To progress work, we need to do a variety of technical reports to help with the design of the extension and to support our resource consent application that will be lodged in 2020.

    We’ll be holding public drop-in sessions at the start of December to explain how the decision was made and to seek input on the proposed technical studies.

    Drop in sessions:

    Sunday 1 December: 11am to 1pm, Brooklyn Community Centre, 18 Harrison Street, Brooklyn

    Sunday 1 December: 2pm to 4pm, Owhiro Bay School Hall, 96 Happy Valley Road, Owhiro Bay

    Tuesday 3 December: 11.30am to 1.30pm, Facebook Live Q&A, Wellington City Council Facebook page

    Tuesday 3 December: 4.30pm to 6.30pm, Penthouse Cinema, 205 Ohiro Road, Brooklyn

    Wednesday, 4 December: 11.30am to 1.30pm, Wellington City Council, Level 16, 113 The Terrace, Wellington Central

    If you can't make a session but would like further information, contact us by email landfill@wcc.govt.nz or give us a call on (04) 499 4444.

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