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New guidelines to improve landfill safety

New guidelines to improve landfill safety and smells now available

The release of a national guideline to curb the dangers and smells caused by the disposal of hazardous waste to landfill marks the completion of a major series of work to help local communities manage their waste in line with international best practice, the Ministry for the Environment announced today.

“This is the final in a series of six landfill management resources developed under the New Zealand Waste Strategy to reduce the risk of hazardous wastes getting into the environment,” Sustainable Industry General Manager Bill Bayfield says.

“The Landfill Waste Acceptance Criteria and Landfill Classification guideline is a welcome tool for local authorities who are responsible for managing the handling and treatment of hazardous wastes.

“The guideline specifies the hazardous substances that should be banned from disposal to landfills such as radioactive material, lead-acid batteries, used oil, and fridges and freezers still containing gas. Certain liquids and leachates likely to cause foul odours or seep into nearby waterways are also identified as unsuitable for acceptance to landfills.

“The guideline stipulates other hazardous substances that can be disposed of only at landfills that are classified as having an appropriately high standard of environmental protection in place. These hazardous wastes can only be accepted for disposal if they have been treated or stabilised to minimise their environmental impact,” he said.

Mr Bayfield said that while many landfills across the country already ban certain hazardous wastes to prevent contaminating groundwater supplies, rivers and streams, some regions were in real need of a consistent approach on this issue.

“We will continue to work closely with local government and industry to help operators meet the new standards expected of them.”

The Ministry for the Environment developed the guidelines and landfill classification criteria in partnership with local authorities, landfill operators and waste producers, after several years of technical research and consultation.

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