Levin Landfill Resolution The Right Move To Ensure Robust Community Consultation
Joint Media Release from Horowhenua District Council and Community Stakeholders
Recently Horowhenua District Councillors and the Levin Landfill Project Management Group (PMG) team members were separately briefed by Council’s consultants about an extension and variation of the existing Waste Services Agreement with Midwest Disposals.
The extension will see Horowhenua District Council’s (HDC) Council-controlled waste disposed of at the Bonny Glen Landfill near Marton for a six month period. This would allow Council more time to explore future waste disposal and landfill options, address the latest compliance report from Horizons Regional Council, and mitigates the need to build a new landfill cell in the short term.
Importantly, it will allow for a full community consultation process and reconsideration of the need to open a new cell to accept waste prior to the final Council decision on the future of the Levin Landfill.
These developments come as the PMG, which is comprised of stakeholders from Council, iwi, community and independent appointees, along with a Horizons Regional Council observer, was made aware of the limited capacity for the existing landfill to take additional waste after an updated Density Assessment was commissioned by Council in February 2021. It was initially thought that the current landfill cell would have sufficient capacity to last until the full decision-making process on the future of the Levin Landfill was complete.
The advice to the Council and PMG in March this year has led to a lot of hard work between HDC and Midwest Disposals to find an interim solution that would work for all. The PMG is pleased that an interim solution has been adopted which allows full consideration of the issues before the community, in particular the delay in opening a new cell and the ability to focus on responding to the latest compliance report from Horizons Regional Council.
HDC is happy it has been able to reach terms with Midwest Disposals that allows waste produced in Horowhenua to be disposed of conveniently and sustainably until a Council decision is made in early 2022. The interim solution would not incur any additional cost to ratepayers.
HDC will suspend the placement of waste at the Levin Landfill from November 2021 until April 2022. The public can continue to dispose of waste at either the Levin, Foxton or Shannon Transfer Stations.
During the suspension period, there will still be work being done at the landfill, but no placement of refuse. This work will include:
· Capping of cells 1A, 2 and 3 (earthworks contract) to comply with resource consent conditions
· All other operational activities such as the Landfill gas flare and leachate capture system to ensure compliance with resource consent conditions
· Regular monitoring of the site by Midwest Disposals
· Potential stockpiling of HDC’s greenwaste for capping material
· Potential stockpiling of mixed glass for use on the landfill
· Work with the PMG to implement options that address leachate discharges from the closed landfill as per the landfill agreement and consent conditions.
HDC signed an agreement with a number of parties in March 2019 which had a focus on early closure of the Levin Landfill, addressing long-standing community concerns about odour and management of leachate to avoid impacts on the highly valued Hōkio stream.
As part of this agreement, Council’s Chief Executive will make a recommendation to councillors to close the landfill in or before 2025. That recommendation will sit alongside advice from the PMG and Council’s consultants. Councillors will consider three options before making the final decision on the future of waste management in the district. Community feedback on that decision is critical and that process will take place from December 2021 to February 2022.
Waste Management options:
· Option 1 – Disposal at a third party disposal site (from the start of the new operations contract in May 2022).
· Option 2 – Disposal at the Levin Landfill (until no later than December 2025) and disposal at a third party disposal site from 2026 onwards.
· Option 3 – Disposal at the Levin Landfill (until landfill consents expire in 2037 or sooner if landfill capacity is reached).
Community groups who have been involved with the Levin Landfill over the past 50 years have expressed their relief at Council’s decision to extend the contract with Midwest Disposals, providing sufficient time for community consultation. While relieved at this logical step, they have made it very clear that they will only relax when the issues associated with the landfill are addressed, the restoration of the wetland next to the Hōkio stream occurs and the landfill is closed.