Gibbston residents are losing patience over a smell described
as being like ''leaking sewage'' coming from a nearby
Gibbston Community Association secretary Trish Mackenzie says
residents and businesses have put up with the ''stench'' from
the Victoria Flats landfill for years.
However, the Otago Regional Council says the landfill's
operator, Scope Resources, is working hard to minimise the
Mrs Mackenzie said if the landfill was a dairy farm, it would
have been ''closed down or fined''.
''Personally, I think they should be more accountable. It's
not good enough.''
As well as residents ''grizzling'' about the odour, it was
commonplace for visitors to homes and businesses in the
Gibbston valley to complain.
She described the smell as ''revolting - like leaking
Scope Resources has a long-term contract to manage the
landfill, which opened in 1999, on behalf of the Queenstown
Lakes and Central Otago Districts. It is 19km from
Queenstown, between the Victoria Bridge and the Nevis Bluff.
special and hazardous waste from the Wakatipu and Central
Otago is buried there.
Mrs Mackenzie said that at Scope Resource's request, a
consultant environmental engineer advising the company on the
issue had given a presentation at the association's annual
meeting last month to explain what the company was doing to
minimise the odour.
''The fact they're acknowledging there is a problem is a
However, the association wanted the company to set a timeline
for resolving the problem, and would be discussing the issue
at its next meeting, in a week's time.
Queenstown Lakes District Council communications manager
Michele Poole said a council engineer had been contacted
about the issue recently by a member of the public, while
Otago Regional Council director of environmental monitoring
and operations, Jeff Donaldson, said two complaints had been
logged on its pollution hotline in the past three months.
Mr Donaldson said the regional council knew the odour was an
issue at the landfill, and was working ''very closely'' with
Scope Resources to mitigate the problem.
That work included assessing the best part of the pit to put
the sludge, using lime chips, wood chips and mulch to filter
the odour and mixing the waste with lime and burying it
However, more waste with a higher moisture content was coming
into the landfill than before - including sewage sludge from
Wanaka's Project Pure - which contributed to problem.
''This plant has been operating really successfully for many
years, but when there's an air pollution issue, we work with
the operator to continually improve how we deal with this.
''It's a learning process.''
Scope Resources director Phil Dunstan could not be reached