The future of the Southern Landfill

Graphic of the landfill and waste options.

Latest update November 2019

With only four years left until the current stage of the Southern Landfill is full, we’ve been busy testing our assumption that extending the Landfill is the most viable solution, by assessing alternative waste management technologies.

The assessment concluded that extending the Landfill remains the most viable solution for now.

This reflects that good practice landfill design, construction and operation is well proven in New Zealand, that there is a relatively low environmental risk with appropriate design and operation and that the cost of the Landfill extension is relatively low compared to other options.

How we evaluated the waste management alternatives

We identified a range of values we thought would be important to consider when we evaluated the waste management alternatives, and we asked the community to rank these in order of importance. These were then considered alongside Council priorities.

The values included community impacts/values, environmental, technology risk, financial, legislative/Resource Management Act and product risks.

Extending the Landfill had the most favourable score overall.

What next?

We are now commissioning technical studies to help with the design of the Landfill extension and to support our resource consent application that will be lodged in 2020.

We’ll be holding a series of drop-in sessions seeking any information that could help us with these proposed technical studies.


Latest update November 2019

With only four years left until the current stage of the Southern Landfill is full, we’ve been busy testing our assumption that extending the Landfill is the most viable solution, by assessing alternative waste management technologies.

The assessment concluded that extending the Landfill remains the most viable solution for now.

This reflects that good practice landfill design, construction and operation is well proven in New Zealand, that there is a relatively low environmental risk with appropriate design and operation and that the cost of the Landfill extension is relatively low compared to other options.

How we evaluated the waste management alternatives

We identified a range of values we thought would be important to consider when we evaluated the waste management alternatives, and we asked the community to rank these in order of importance. These were then considered alongside Council priorities.

The values included community impacts/values, environmental, technology risk, financial, legislative/Resource Management Act and product risks.

Extending the Landfill had the most favourable score overall.

What next?

We are now commissioning technical studies to help with the design of the Landfill extension and to support our resource consent application that will be lodged in 2020.

We’ll be holding a series of drop-in sessions seeking any information that could help us with these proposed technical studies.


  • Landfill by the numbers

    13 days ago
    J009659 0016a

    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...

    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



    You need to be signed in to add your comment.

    comment
    Submitting your comment
    Cancel
  • Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

    about 1 month ago
    Merry christmas

    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.

    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.

    You need to be signed in to add your comment.

    comment
    Submitting your comment
    Cancel
  • Let's Talk about the top topics now

    about 2 months ago

    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...

    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.


    comment
    Ajax loader transparent
    Didn't receive confirmation?
    Seems like you are already registered, please provide the password. Forgot your password? Create a new one now.
    Submitting your comment
    Cancel
  • Thanks for your interest and coming along!

    about 2 months ago
    J009382 southern landfill proposed extension fb event banner fb event ba...

    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,...

    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!


    comment
    Ajax loader transparent
    Didn't receive confirmation?
    Seems like you are already registered, please provide the password. Forgot your password? Create a new one now.
    Submitting your comment
    Cancel
  • Come along and find out more about the proposed Landfill extension

    2 months ago

    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...

    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.


    You need to be signed in to add your comment.

    comment
    Submitting your comment
    Cancel
  • Drop in - it's time to talk technical

    2 months ago

    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...

    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.

    You need to be signed in to add your comment.

    comment
    Submitting your comment
    Cancel
  • Rubbish to Electricity

    3 months ago
    J009659 0454

    When we put waste into a landfill, our microbial friends naturally start eating up the waste. As they consume the waste, they tend to produce methane as a by-product, similar to what happens in a cow’s stomach.

    It is important to point out that this is a natural anaerobic process that occurs to anything organic we throw away, bury and allow to decompose, regardless of whether it is in a landfill or in your backyard.

    Generally methane is contained within a landfill by the placement of a clay cap, a layer of clay that...

    When we put waste into a landfill, our microbial friends naturally start eating up the waste. As they consume the waste, they tend to produce methane as a by-product, similar to what happens in a cow’s stomach.

    It is important to point out that this is a natural anaerobic process that occurs to anything organic we throw away, bury and allow to decompose, regardless of whether it is in a landfill or in your backyard.

    Generally methane is contained within a landfill by the placement of a clay cap, a layer of clay that we place above the waste that contains the gasses within the landfill.

    This ‘cap’ is not completely airtight and as the gas builds up under it, some of the landfill gasses escape into the air. This can cause unpleasant odours but more importantly, it also allows methane, a known greenhouse gas, to escape into the air.

    Methane is about 100 times worse as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. At the Southern Landfill, we recognise this is not ideal for the environment and our neighbours.

    The Wellington City Council and its partners, Nova Gas, have installed gas wells to ’suck ‘ the gas through pipes and burn it in a generator to produce electricity, much like a petrol generator. The generation process does produce carbon dioxide but this is much better for the environment than releasing methane.

    We currently have around 16 operating gas wells around the various stages of the landfill powering a 1 Megawatt generator that sends the power into the national electricity grid to power up houses heating and electric cars/buses.

    As a landfill gets older, it produces less and less methane as the bugs eat all the waste. Over a period of 50 years, we expect landfills to produce only small amounts of gas and to ‘stabilise’. Because of this, over time it may become uneconomic to continue to suck the gas to produce electricity at the Southern Landfill.

    When this occurs, the land can be repurposed for other uses but not housing. Most sports playing fields in Wellington are built on old landfills. With the appropriate infrastructure and a bit of work, these old landfills can be used as recreational areas for everyone to enjoy.


    You need to be signed in to add your comment.

    comment
    Submitting your comment
    Cancel
  • The ambulance at the bottom of the cliff

    3 months ago
    Tipgraphic

    When we talk to Wellingtonians, we frequently get asked, “Why aren’t you reducing the waste coming to the Landfill”?

    Waste comes to us from various sources. For some waste there is no alternative because it’s too dangerous to handle, e.g. asbestos waste, and the Southern Landfill is the safest disposal site.

    For other waste, like kitchen waste or construction waste, there are alternatives to landfilling but the challenge is for industry to set up affordable processing schemes and for us to support these initiatives when they become available.

    Regionally, we currently send 600kg of rubbish per person to landfills every...

    When we talk to Wellingtonians, we frequently get asked, “Why aren’t you reducing the waste coming to the Landfill”?

    Waste comes to us from various sources. For some waste there is no alternative because it’s too dangerous to handle, e.g. asbestos waste, and the Southern Landfill is the safest disposal site.

    For other waste, like kitchen waste or construction waste, there are alternatives to landfilling but the challenge is for industry to set up affordable processing schemes and for us to support these initiatives when they become available.

    Regionally, we currently send 600kg of rubbish per person to landfills every year. Some of this waste could potentially be diverted but either the disposer decides not to separate out the recyclable waste or there are no readily available diversion options.

    The Landfill is the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff. Once the rubbish gets here, we have to accept it and deal with it.

    We can all do more to reduce our waste, but it takes a concerted effort and we may have to change the way we act and how we live.

    A good starting point is to change the way we purchase our groceries. Only buy sufficient food for the week, shop to menus, purchase choices without excess or any packaging. This reduces food and packaging waste.

    Other ideas include:

    • If you have a garden, home composting of your food scraps.

    • Separating out the recycling correctly – kerbside recycling is provided in Wellington City. This reduces material that could have been recycled going to Landfill.

    • Drop off e-waste for free at the Southern Landfill.

    • Re-use, refurbish or resell old furniture.

    • Fix appliances rather than buying new ones. Check out the Tip Shop account on Trade Me, we sell a whole lot of spare parts for vacuum cleaners and computer parts.

    To find out more about recycling in Wellington City go to 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

    You need to be signed in to add your comment.

    comment
    Submitting your comment
    Cancel
  • Let's Talk about the Top Topics

    4 months ago

    During our conversations with you there have been some recurring topics of interest. We’d like to dive into some of those.

    The top three topics so far are waste minimisation, environmental and community impacts.

    Under the waste minimisation banner, you’ve talked a lot about the sewage sludge processed at the Landfill. You’re interested in the sludge volume, handling and treatment, and whether there are any opportunities to compost sludge.

    Other issues of interest have been the circular economy, product stewardship, recycling plastics, waste collection, green waste, container return schemes, construction and demolition waste and waste recovery.

    Environmentally, aquatic impacts are...

    During our conversations with you there have been some recurring topics of interest. We’d like to dive into some of those.

    The top three topics so far are waste minimisation, environmental and community impacts.

    Under the waste minimisation banner, you’ve talked a lot about the sewage sludge processed at the Landfill. You’re interested in the sludge volume, handling and treatment, and whether there are any opportunities to compost sludge.

    Other issues of interest have been the circular economy, product stewardship, recycling plastics, waste collection, green waste, container return schemes, construction and demolition waste and waste recovery.

    Environmentally, aquatic impacts are top of the list in relation to Ōwhiro stream, Taputeranga Marine Reserve, and landfill design so as not to leach contaminants into the stream.

    The community impacts raised are around traffic and road issues on Happy Valley Road, the cumulative effect of the three landfills in the area (Council’s Southern Landfill and two privately owned and run landfills) and the Southern landfill capacity and lifespan.

    We’ve been keeping a record of all of the feedback so we can consider it in our waste management alternatives assessment and so it can help inform any of the technical studies we will need to do.

    Below are a few of the questions we’ve received (and the answers!).

    Are there any plans to compost sewage sludge?

    We do not have plans to compost sewage sludge at this stage. We have done so in the past and it was not successful. It was costly to produce, there were many complaints about the odour, and it was not marketable as many people were opposed to the idea of composted human waste. Wellington Water is looking at options for sewage sludge handling, treatment and disposal.

    Is the Landfill affecting the water quality for the stream and marine reserve?

    The Council monitors water quality through monthly water sampling around the stream (Carey's stream) that runs through the Southern Landfill as part of our existing consent.

    According to our annual compliance report from the Greater Wellington Regional Council, reviewed by an independent expert, the expert surmised that the Southern Landfill does not appear to be causing even minor adverse effects on water quality.

    Instead of extending landfills, can you look at alternatives that involve reducing the amount of waste created in the first place?

    We are committed to trialling a kitchen waste diversion scheme due to start in May next year. We also strongly encourage the use of reusable alternatives rather than single-use and degradable options and we fund sustainable initiatives with grants including the Waste Minimisation Seed Fund which you can learn more about here: https://wellington.govt.nz/services/community-and-culture/funding/council-funds/waste-minimisation-seed-fund

    Wellington (and NZ in general) could really do with recycling solutions for food waste and soft plastics. It would be good to see Wellington City Council take the lead on this.

    Council is committed to a trial of kitchen waste diversion as mentioned above. The soft plastic scheme is due to re-start again in selected stores in Wellington and the Hutt Valley from October. Head to https://www.recycling.kiwi.nz/solutions/soft-plastics/ to find out more.

    The number of construction demolition trucks on the road to the Landfill is around 1000/day. It’s impacting on our mental and physical health. Also during winter there is lots of mud trucking up and down and pollution from uncovered loads. What can be done about this?

    The Southern Landfill requires that all trucks must undergo wheel washing before they leave the site to minimise the amount of mud on the local roads.

    Regarding uncovered loads, we are looking at a campaign both locally and within the Landfill to raise awareness and improve the efficiency of the covers. It is hoped that this will decrease the number of uncovered or poorly covered loads. Although this will be around trucks coming to the Southern Landfill, we are investigating ways of having a wider impact in order to reach trucks that are coming to the other two neighbouring privately run landfills.

    As part of any consent application we will be looking at the number of trucks using the local roads and how many of those are coming to the Southern Landfill and how many are visiting C&D Landfill and T&T Landfill. That way we will have specific information to work on.


    You need to be signed in to add your comment.

    comment
    Submitting your comment
    Cancel
  • Looking at alternatives to landfilling

    4 months ago
    Photo tip landscape

    With room for our rubbish running out we think extending the Landfill is the best way forward to manage our waste, but we are testing this assumption by looking at what alternatives are around.

    We’ve had some lively debates with the community around these different technologies so though it might be handy to summarise them here for you.

    The relatively small size of Wellington and our typography gives us particular challenges when looking into these alternatives. Click here for more information on all alternatives

    Conventional (mass burn) incineration Click for further information

    This option, which processes waste in a modern...

    With room for our rubbish running out we think extending the Landfill is the best way forward to manage our waste, but we are testing this assumption by looking at what alternatives are around.

    We’ve had some lively debates with the community around these different technologies so though it might be handy to summarise them here for you.

    The relatively small size of Wellington and our typography gives us particular challenges when looking into these alternatives. Click here for more information on all alternatives

    Conventional (mass burn) incineration Click for further information

    This option, which processes waste in a modern incinerator, has provoked quite a bit of discussion during our conversations.

    The incinerators typically burn 250,000 tonnes or more of waste per year, and generate energy for heat or power. The Southern Landfill currently only receives about 75,000 of suitable waste per year which could create challenges with a higher relative cost of managing emissions and running the plant.

    Issues and costs relate to the amount of waste required possibly impacting waste minimisation measures, the disposal of residual ash, managing emissions, and the disposal of unsuitable materials.

    There are no current examples in New Zealand although a plant has been proposed for Hokitika. These methods are common in Asia, Europe, the UK and North America – all using large-scale incinerators.

    Advanced thermal treatment Click for further information

    This covers a range of technologies including pyrolysis and gasification to achieve thermal conversion of organic materials. Depending on conditions useable outputs include energy, Syngas, Tar/Oil for further refining and others.

    Issues and costs relate to pre-sorting the waste, disposal of ash residue, managing emissions and the disposal of unsuitable materials.

    There are no examples in New Zealand although trials have been completed for single waste streams (e.g. waste timber) but not general waste. These methods are used in the rest of the world but mostly for specific waste streams (e.g. tyres or wood waste).

    Mechanical heat treatment Click for further information

    Mechanical heat treatment combines mechanical sorting and heat treatment technologies to maximise the recovery of recyclable, usable material from general waste and processing the remaining waste.

    Issues and costs relate to pre-sorting the waste, removal and disposal of recyclable, usable material, costs of disposing of unsuitable materials, and disposing of the output including low quality recyclable material, and stabilised organic material.

    There are no examples in operation in New Zealand. There are examples in Australia but the final product is currently landfilled due to environmental regulations in some states. This method is also used in the United Kingdom.

    Mechanical biological treatment Click for further information

    Mechanical biological treatment is a generic term for an integrated system comprising several mechanical and biological processes which might include removal of recyclable materials, biological reduction of the biodegradable portion using anaerobic digestion and/or aerobic composting.

    Issues and costs relate to a material recovery facility to remove unsuitable materials and their disposal, costs of disposing of the output including low quality recyclable material, and stabilised organic material.

    There are no examples in operation in New Zealand. These methods are used in Australia New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia, but in some states the final product is landfilled due to environmental regulations. There are many examples elsewhere in the world – in particular in Europe.

    Click here for more information on all these alternatives.


    You need to be signed in to add your comment.

    comment
    Submitting your comment
    Cancel