Environment Waikato is to review air discharge consents from the Kinleith mill at Tokoroa.
This week’s Regulatory Committee heard that Carter Holt Harvey’s 1999 consent included a condition proposed by the company and supported by the community that it would seek continuous improvement to reduce odour from the Kinleith Pulp and Paper Mill.
To assess the improvements it would also report every five years on improvements, plant conditions and odour levels, and conduct a survey to find out the effect of odour on the community.
Current reports indicated that significant improvements had been made in emissions, the community was affected by odour but not significantly, no upgrades were planned but several projects had been planned to assess potential upgrades and particular emissions.
Processing Industry programme manager David Stagg said while the company was not proposing to make any significant improvements to reduce odour levels, it had come up with a range of improvement options. None were a ‘quick fix’ and costs were significant to achieve substantial improvements- from $1.7 million to $20 million over five years.
He said it was not clear that the community was willing to accept the current level of odour for at least the next five years - the time of the next opportunity to review the consent. The community should have a say in the process.
Carter Holt Harvey had agreed that the Resource Management Act review process was the mechanism to provide for public involvement.
Mr Stagg outlined a number of other improvements at the plant. The company had developed with Waikato University a bio-remediation technique for stored PCP contaminants using a fungus which could break down the chemical. Other previously dumped material was now being used to produce energy.
The Committee recommended a publicly notified review of the company’s resource consent be initiated.