Council - landfill stench will get worse before it gets better

Dec 03, 2019

The following statement has been issued by QLDC.

"Queenstown Lakes District Council and its contractor Scope Resources Ltd are working together on a project to improve air quality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions at Victoria Flats Landfill. 

QLDC General Manager Property and Infrastructure Peter Hansby said the project follows changes to Otago Regional Council air discharge consent conditions and National Environmental Standards for air quality.  

“The National Environmental Standard for Air Quality 2004 requires landfills with a total capacity of more than one million tonnes, and containing more than 200,000 tonnes of waste to collect landfill gasses.  Our Otago Regional Council Discharge to Air Consent was reissued in August and now requires us to comply with these regulations from December 2020,” Mr Hansby said. 

“Over the past 18 months we have been working closely with our contractor to design a landfill gas capture system pre-empting the new requirement,” he said. 

The system, will be made up of horizontal and vertical collection pipes leading to a primary flare used to destroy the gas.  Pipes will be retrospectively installed into the existing landfill cells and progressively installed as the landfill grows.

Odour is likely during the project, particularly while the early work is underway.

“We’d like to thank those near the landfill for their patience while we install the new gas capture system.  The early work involves excavating into old waste and we acknowledge that the odour this might cause can be unpleasant.  We’ll develop an odour management plan to define the best steps we can take to minimise the odour but it’s important to remember that no landfill is completely odour free,” Mr Hansby said. 

Mr Hansby added that landfill growth also has a direct effect on the amount paid by Council and therefore the community, to the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme.

“As the amount of waste going into the landfill increases, so too does the number of emissions units we need to purchase.  Additionally, over time the cost to purchase emissions units has also increased.  These costs are recovered through waste service fees and charges.  To put that into perspective, in 2018 it cost $1.34m to purchase enough units to cover the 53,125 tonnes of waste that went into the landfill,” he said. 

“The most effective way to ensure these costs don’t continue to impact the community is to reduce the amount of material going to landfill and therefore greenhouse gas emissions,” he said.

“The whole community has an important role to play in this and we are working hard to ensure people have the tools, services and knowledge they need to make big inroads into reducing waste at home and in their businesses,” Mr Hansby said. 

The capital cost of the gas capture and destruction project will be funded by Scope Resources and repaid by QLDC over the remaining 14.5 year landfill contract term through an increased gate fee from 1 January 2020 for all waste deposited at the landfill 

Early work on the project is underway and expected to be operating by December 2020."

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