The future of the Southern Landfill

Let's Talk about the top topics from March

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

Let's Talk about the top topics from March

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

Thank you for your interest in the Southern Landfill project. We are happy to answer any questions you may have. 

Your questions

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  • Hi, Will this project include ways to catch and redirect poor dumping practice? There is still a lot of recyclable material going into the landfill as general waste and this is contributing (significantly) to the shorter life of the current landfill. Common examples are rental clearouts (everything is dumped), business clearouts (everything is dumped), and your standard lazy bloke with trailer having a clear out. There is currently absolutely no resistance or effort to redirect these people when they turn up at the landfill. If there was clear signage on what goes where (like there is at many other landfills) AND enforcement of this (like there is at many other landfills), our volume issues at the Southern Landfill would be reduced, more would be recycled and more would be reused (which is the point). As a Wellingtonian aware of how other landfills and recycling centres operate, I am embarrassed by how WCC allows the Southern Landfill to operate. ... bulk dumping with a bit of recycling out front to look nice (the Trip Shop is excellent).

    Julian Inch asked about 2 months ago

    Thank you for taking the time to comment.

    This project looks at the infrastructure required to dispose of any residual waste we produce ensuring it is disposed of safely and securely minimising any impact to the environment.

    That aside, we have a whole team working hard to look at how we can minimise waste, encourage more recycling and divert more waste from landfill. This is ongoing work and occurs irrespective of whether we extend the Landfill or not.

    At the moment they are working on and supporting a wide range of initiatives including but not limited to:

    • household recycling

    • kitchen waste diversion trial later this year

    • diverting waste from the Landfill

    • funding for various projects large and small including funding reusable cups to replace 14,000 single use water bottles at the 2020 Round the Bays

    • public place recycling trial in 9 locations around Wellington City

    • education of various types in schools, community groups, and others

    • worm farms and compost bins provided free to schools and preschools

    • supporting various regional and national initiatives and campaigns

    We are already diverting 8,000 tonnes of waste at the Southern Landfill coupled with 11,500 of waste from kerbside recycling and free recycling drop offs at the Southern Landfill.  We are looking at ways to do more.

    Our main focus of encouraging people to reduce waste is through a tonnage rate and providing a free drop off at the Tip Shop as an economical incentive rather than taking a more enforcement orientated role.

    As far as I know; we are the only landfill in the Wellington Region to price our landfills this way.

    Other landfills use a price format of a fixed rate per vehicle type. E.g. a trailer costs you a single fee.

    This pricing model in fact encourages people to dispose of more waste to get ‘their dollar’s worth’.

    In this respect, we are ahead.

    We updated our signage with a signage revamp in 2015 and which gave more information to a user about where their recycling goes but we can look at ways to make this clearer.  We are looking at changes to our transfer station this year so we can look at accommodating some new signage there.

    In terms of enforcement, we are the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff and the enforcement aspect should be done BEFORE waste reaches us.

    There is a lot of work happening in this space such as the proposal increasing the levy on waste that goes to landfill which in turn increases the price of landfill.  From this we expect to see customers and residents taking more time to consider what they do with their waste.

    This levy on waste in turn goes on to fund waste minimisation initiatives at all levels to reduce waste further.

    We at the Council are fully supportive of such proposals.


  • If the landfill is to take more waste from the whole city do the nearby suburbs already impacted directly from the landfill smells and other possible discharges get any form of compensation? Brooklyn already gets hit by the smell during warm to hot periods.

    Shannon Gillies asked 6 months ago

    Kia ora.  It is not intended for the Southern Landfill to take waste from anywhere other than its current catchment.  It is hoped that waste minimisation initiatives will reduce the amount of rubbish to Landfill over time.

  • Has the impact of other countries no longer taking our recycling/rubbish had any impact on the Southern landfill? If it has are we building anything that can deal with the amount of plastic waste we have been shipping off to other places?

    Shannon Gillies asked 6 months ago

    We continue to find markets for all collected recycling.  There is no impact on landfill volumes.

  • Hi Would the project will include the reaccepting PLA cups or lined containers at the commercial composting - Capital compost in the future? I am running a business in Wellington and switched to compostable & disposable takeaways with more costs but Capital Compost is no longer taking them. I would like to know what's gonna affect the expansion of landfill regarding composting facilities.

    Dahee Sohn asked 21 days ago

    The operations of Capital Compost is unrelated to the landfill extension project, particularly around the acceptance criteria.

     In terms of Capital Compost itself, we have Biogro organic certification for our compost products. This does mean that a few compostable products can no longer be processed at our composting operation. Specifically this relates to compostable, biodegradable or corn starch bags or bin liners, and PLA lined coffee cups, and other food packaging that is PLA lined.

     Currently the compost industry is largely unregulated in New Zealand, and key players are turning to BioGro to gain credibility and acceptability of product. This is important nationally if Wellington City Council is going to apply diverted waste products to our land in order to grow food.

    We know that there are alternatives available that are non-PLA or cornstarch that comply with our Biogro certification standards and these are the ones that we are promoting though our event packaging guidelines.

    We can still accept a wide range of compostable packaging, such as:

    o             Unlined paper and cardboard

    o             Potato starch 

    o             Sugarcane or bagasse

    o             Pine

    o             Soft/thin bamboo materials & cutlery

    o             Vegetable wax coated paper. 

    o             If the materials above have branding, the branding must be made from non-toxic inks e.g. soy based or water based inks.

    Regional event vendor guidelines are below and reflect the acceptance criteria for Capital Compost.

     Regional-food-vendor-guidelines.pdf

  • Hello, I was unable to attend my local drop-in session. 1) I would like to know what the difference is between dried sludge (which I understand is what gets landfilled in the Hutt) and our sludge (the sludge which comes from Moa Point), which I understand is not dried. Why is ours not dried? I would imagine that dried sludge would require less waste to be landfilled with it? 2) WCC is looking to reduce the amount of waste to landfill by 30%. When is that target aimed to be completed by? 30% compared to when? I am concerned that with population growth, 30% from whenever you have chosen, will still allow for a lot of waste. 3) I understand we need waste to be buried with the sludge, therefore there is an incentive to not reduce waste to a certain amount. How much waste is needed for the sludge - as in how much further than the 30% reduction target could we go before the council would not want to reduce waste. 4) What amount/level is the impact of leachate going into ground water currently? And how much will this increase by with the extension? 5) Page 28, 4.11.3, of the Tonkin and Taylor report, refers that with the extension "based on good practice designed and operations the ability to restore the stream currently piped under the existing landfill to flow around completed stage 4" - is the pipe currently broken/failing?

    AMH asked 20 days ago

    We have restated the questions and put the relevant answers directly underneath.

    Hello, I was unable to attend my local drop-in session.

    1.    I would like to know what the difference is between dried sludge (which I understand is what gets landfilled in the Hutt) and our sludge (the sludge which comes from Moa Point), which I understand is not dried. Why is ours not dried? I would imagine that dried sludge would require less waste to be landfilled with it?

    Hutt City Council’s sludge is put through a thermal dryer to reduce the water/increase the dry solids of the sludge – this turns it into pellets. This in turn reduces the volume of residual sludge to be landfilled – the dry solid content as a result of the drying process is likely to above 80%, although we do not have specifics about their operations. Wellington City’s sludge has a dry solid content of about 22%-25% on average, which makes it the consistency of thick porridge.

    There is funding allocated in WCC’s long term plan to look at options for reducing the volume of sludge. This project is being driven by Wellington Water. Our understanding is that they are considering a number of options, including something similar to what Hutt City Council operates. 

    2.    WCC is looking to reduce the amount of waste to landfill by 30%. When is that target aimed to be completed by? 30% compared to when? I am concerned that with population growth, 30% from whenever you have chosen, will still allow for a lot of waste.

    This target is set on our Regional Waste Management and Minimisation Plan, which was adopted in 2017, and was intended to be achieved over 10 years. Whilst population growth will play a factor, it is intended that waste minimisation and diversion initiatives will counteract this. 

    3.     I understand we need waste to be buried with the sludge, therefore there is an incentive to not reduce waste to a certain amount. How much waste is needed for the sludge - as in how much further than the 30% reduction target could we go before the council would not want to reduce waste.

    Our consent requires us to have a 4: 1 ratio – so 4 parts general waste to 1 part sludge. This does currently hinder our ability to do significant waste minimisation without risking breaching our consent. The current ratio sits very close to 4:1, and therefore we are keen to support the work that Wellington Water is doing around investigating methods to reduce sludge to landfill.

    4.     What amount/level is the impact of leachate going into ground water currently? And how much will this increase by with the extension?

    The Southern Landfill has extensive systems in place to prevent any landfill leachate making its way to ground water and/or Careys Gully stream. It is our intention to continue with best practice around leachate management, and therefore we would expect there to be no increase of impact from the extension. We do monthly groundwater and stream water quality testing, and this is in line with our consent requirements.

    5.     Page 28, 4.11.3, of the Tonkin and Taylor report, refers that with the extension "based on good practice designed and operations the ability to restore the stream currently piped under the existing landfill to flow around completed stage 4" - is the pipe currently broken/failing?

    No, there is no issue with the current pipe/tunnel. This excerpt refers to our intention to restore the stream overland rather than have it run through a tunnel.