The standard of operating landfills in the Waikato is now as good or better than any other part of the country, this week's Environment Waikato Regulatory Committee heard.
In an update on the consent and operating status of the Region’s landfills, special projects manager Dennis Crequer said there were now only six operating landfills in the Region, and all were fully consented. In 1999 there were 13 operating municipal landfills and only three had proper consents.
He said establishing statistics for the site was difficult, as there were a wide range of sites used for some form of waste disposal. The report covered only municipal landfills sites and excluded industrial sites.
Of the six landfills three – in Taupo, Te Kuiti and Tirohia -- were modern sites, commissioned over the last few years and with long-term consents. One other site, Tokoroa, is to be upgraded from medium term use, and the remaining two, at Putaruru and Horotiu, are to close in the next few years.
One further site, the EnviroWaste site at Hampton Downs Road, had been granted consent but had not yet been constructed.
Statistics on closed sites were even more difficult, as Environment Waikato probably did not know all of them. They ranged in size from medium municipal sites to very small local sites where sometimes even the actual location was not certain. In 1999 there were 35 recently closed landfills in the Region, but that figure was probably on the low side depending on the definition of “recent” and "landfill". Only three had consents.
There were now 18 sites that had been consented, including all those which had been identified as known to have an environmental effect. Of those not yet consented, 12 were expected to have an environmental effect due to their size or location. However a number of those sites had already been at least partially closed and rehabilitated.
Mr Crequer said many of the closed landfills had also been upgraded to the extent that their effect on the environment was relatively small, although monitoring had shown that upgraded some sites had taken longer than anticipated. The number of sites which were now consented and where significant works were required was now quite small.
Once those sites had been upgraded to an appropriate standard, staff would review the need for consents for the remaining sites which were mostly small and had been closed for many years.