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The proposed ‘piggy back’ expansion of the Southern Landfill, with the expanded section front centre.

Report from RNZ by Kirsty Frame
Building a new dump on top of Wellington’s current landfill is shaping up as the most popular option for the capital.

Wellington residents have until next week to say what they want to do about the landfill.

The Southern Landfill buries 100,000 tonnes of waste each year and will be full by 2026.

The Wellington City Council has three options.

A new landfill could be built on top of the existing location – that will buy the council up to 20 years before it is back to square one.

Or, it could spend a $200 million on a rubbish-burning facility that’ll convert waste into energy.

A third option is to close the site and get Porirua or Lower Hutt councils to take the capital city’s rubbish.

Mayor Andy Foster and the council prefer the first option – “piggy backing” a new landfill on top of the current one. The expansion would be partially on top of an existing area of the landfill, but about a hectare of vegetation would need to be cleared to make way. It would be a $42.5 million investment and would cost $4m for annual operation – which would not add to rates.

Foster said it was the most sensible solution right now.

“We are unlikely to be in a position where we create no waste at all for the foreseeable future, so we need to put it somewhere.” The council is working on initiatives to reduce waste in the meantime.

A $200m ‘waste to energy incineration’ facility is another option; it would burn waste and capture the generated heat to produce electricity. But it would need a minimum of 70,000 tonnes of waste to operate. Council’s waste operations manager Stefan Borowy said “in effect, you’re feeding the beast to keep it going efficiently, that’s why it’s not our preferred option”.

Mayoral candidate Tory Whanau has concerns about burning waste. “I think it’s a huge barrier to actually waste minimisation – which is what we need in the long term,” she said. Diverting waste to other facilities in the region was unacceptable, she said, so she is in favour of expanding the landfill as well.

Sending Wellington’s rubbish to Porirua or Upper Hutt would not require any initial investment but would have the highest operating cost of $6.4m, once transport is included. But this option is not secure, as other councils could prioritise their waste over the capital’s.

Ali Forrest, who is part of the Ōwhiro Bay Residents Association, said they had been able to talk the council down from its original expansion plan.

“It’s a much smaller option than what was originally proposed, which was going to be much more disruptive to the ecology, causing more damage and more smells, more litter,” she said.

Forrest said neighbours were realistic about living near a landfill – but they still want it to be phased out.

“We’re pragmatic, and we’re not NIMBY’s [Not In My BackYard], and people just want to see waste minimised. They want to see Wellington doing its utmost to drastically reduce the amount waste so that the Southern Landfill can be phased out.”

Public consultation on the landfill’s future closes next weekend.

The council will then decide on an option in June.

Continue reading this article at the original source from Scoop Wellington


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