Hearing begins for bid to remove landfill cap

AB Lime counsel Bridget Irving, of Gallaway Cook Allan (left), general manager Stephen Smith and...
AB Lime counsel Bridget Irving, of Gallaway Cook Allan (left), general manager Stephen Smith and compliance and environment manager Fiona Smith at a landfill hearing yesterday. Photo: Laura Smith.
A Southland landfill seeking to become the premier in the South says its past mistakes will not be repeated.

A hearing on AB Lime’s request to remove the 100,000tonnes per annum cap on its Winton landfill started yesterday.

Last year, the company applied to Environment Southland to have the cap removed, as well as the formalisation of waste acceptance in emergency response situations.

It would not increase its footprint or capacity if the resource consents were granted.

Commissioner Allan Cubitt heard evidence from the company yesterday.

In her summary, AB Lime counsel Bridget Irving said there were issues in the council’s report that recommended the consents be refused.

That included the author’s misunderstanding of waste types accepted, she said.

"It is submitted that this approach is profoundly flawed and unfortunate."

It left the commission in the position of having a report that was of almost no assistance in assessing the proposal, she said.

Only 21 parties within about 2km of the landfill were notified of the consents, as well as Te Ao Marama and Hokonui Runanga.

Seven submissions were received, of which five were opposed to the plans.

Ms Irving acknowledged the majority of opposing submissions raised concerns about odour, but said the number of complaints had decreased as mitigation measures had been introduced.

Other proposed measures would almost eliminate off-site odour, she said.

Te Ao Marama and Hokonui Runanga both suggested a 17-year bond was more suitable than the 35 years AB Lime had sought.

Ms Irving said while 25 years had been accepted, a shorter term would not match the long-term nature of the company’s investment and community requirements.

She also said its current bond was appropriate, given the landfill’s use for many years to come.

"A bond relating to the aftercare obligations is better addressed at the time that the landfill is to be closed."

General manager Stephen Smith said the landfill was already close to its cap but its removal would not mean "unlimited waste" trucked in.

Many submissions referred to the smell of decaying cows after the landfill took on emergency waste during the Mycoplasma bovis response.

Mr Smith said while the waste was handled in the same way as any other, it was the volume of it and how the cows were processed that caused problems.

"They just came in as whole carcasses. It was quite traumatising.

"There were animals that started to bloat in the landfill itself even though it was buried under 2m of waste. It was not a nice situation."

The hearing was told the company had learned from those experiences.

While pure aluminium dross waste could not be sent to the landfill as a hazardous substance, the landfill had previously taken contaminated materials.

Compliance and environment manager Fiona Smith said it would remove this from its consent application for clarity.

Most out-of-region special waste came from Central Otago in the form of contaminated soil, she said.

Mr Cubitt also heard other applicant specialist evidence and will today hear council specialists’ review of the applicant’s specialist evidence.

Public submitters will be heard tomorrow.


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