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Spicer Landfill Development

Lack of space: meeting the challenge

Spicer Landfill is one of Porirua City’s most well-used facilities – it’s frequented by those disposing of household, commercial and industrial waste. It is also home to the bulk recycling facility, a green waste area and to Trash Palace. The landfill is part of the critical infrastructure required to support economic development in the city and in terms of resilience, the landfill provides space for depositing waste in the event of a significant event occurring in the Wellington region such as an earthquake.

Spicer Landfill is running out of room faster than anticipated and the consents allowing the landfill to operate are expiring. Based on current usage the landfill is likely to run out of room by 2026/27.

Plans to extend the landfill have been included in Long-term and Asset Management planning since 2009 with the most recent 2021-2051 Long-term Plan continuing to outline and budget for plans to extend the landfill by adding two more cells (cells 3 and 4).

We’re now embarking on the resource consent process to get approval to develop the landfill to meet our growing city’s needs. We want to make sure we get this right so are inviting people to find out more about the issues and the proposed solution and share their thoughts with us to ensure that flora, fauna, harbour, and streams are protected, and waste continues to be managed efficiently and effectively.

This will help us fine-tune the plans to extend the landfill.

How to have your say

This round of public engagement sessions have now concluded, and the feedback period closed on 14 April 2022.

Further public sessions will be held later this year and there will be another chance to provide feedback and views during the resource consent process likely to be in 2023.

A summary of feedback received will be made available here soon.


The current waste cycle


Minimising waste – the ultimate goal

Despite best intentions to minimise waste the volume of waste going to the landfill is increasing at a rate greater than anticipated.

You might be surprised at what goes into the landfill and how much of that could be reused, recycled or composted.

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As a Council we’re committed to reducing waste regionally from 600kg/person per year to 400kg/person by 2026. Even achieving that target, we are left with significant waste that needs to be managed which is why we still need to develop and extend the landfill at this stage.

We all need to work together to minimise waste. As a council we’ve got a number of initiatives underway in the city and would love can do differently to make a difference.


The history of Spicer Landfill

From the 1950s the population of Porirua began to grow. In 1954, Porirua Borough Council opened Sievers Grove Landfill in Porirua East. General household refuse and commercial/industrial waste is known to have been deposited there.


In 1973, with Sievers Grove Landfill nearing the end of its life, Porirua City Council proposed a number of sites for a new landfill. The final recommendation was to build a new landfill in Spicer Valley near the head of the Mitchell Stream. Sievers Grove Landfill closed in 1976 and is still currently owned and maintained by Porirua City Council.

The current Spicer Landfill was opened in 1976 and in 1994 consent applications were made to Greater Wellington Regional Council to allow the landfill to continue to operate and these were duly granted. These are the consents which the landfill currently operates under which are due to expire in 2030.

The landfill also has a Council designation K1052: "Refuse Disposal Landfill including Landfill, Recycling, Refuse Transfer Station and Resource Recovery” allowing landfilling and similar activities.

Porirua and Wellington city councils have joint financial interest in the landfill, but the management and operation of the landfill is the responsibility of Porirua Oversight is provided by a Joint Venture Committee with membership from both councils.

Landfill design concept

The landfill has always been designed to be developed in a tiered way over different phases. Once each phase has been filled up then it is closed off and then a new phase opens generally over top of the previous phases. Once a phase has reached its maximum capacity the cell is closed off with a cap placed over it. The closed cells continue to emit gas which is collected and emitted through a gas flare.

Stage 1 is the 1976 old unlined landfill which is now closed off and not accepting any more waste. The northern half of this old landfill has a final cap over it whilst Stage 2 has been built on top of the upper half of Stage 1.

Stage 2 as mentioned above has been constructed over the southern part of Stage 1 with a liner and a leachate collection. The first phase of the Stage 2 development is also now closed and has had an intermediate cap placed over it.

The second phase of the Stage 2 development is currently being used for filling purposes and based on current filling rates will be full by 2026/2027. This phase has also been constructed with a liner and a leachate collection.

Stage 3 is the stage which will allow for additional capacity. Stage 3 will require a new suite of consents to be applied for.

Upgrading the landfill site

In 2007/8, Porirua City Council agreed on a staged upgrade of Spicer Landfill to increase its capacity and improve environmental performance.

During 2008/9 significant investment was made to improve environmental performance, including better leachate and stormwater controls and to reduce the effect of greenhouse gas emissions. A relocation of a weighbridge and roadway improvements were also implemented.

During 2008/09 sixteen gas wells were installed at the landfill. The gas wells are interconnected by pipework to a flare that burns the landfill gas to reduce the effect of greenhouse gas emissions from the landfill. As of July 2017 there are 24 vertical gas wells, and a number of horizontal laterals and connections extracting gas from the underground leachate drains.

The stormwater system received a major upgrade in 2014/16 which separated clean water from silty water. The silty water is treated by the existing sedimentation pond and clean water is discharged direct to the stream.

Spicer Landfill site today

Spicer Landfill is located near the head of Mitchell Stream in Spicer Valley. It is shielded visually from nearby residential areas by the containing sides of the valley.

Access to Spicer Landfill is via Broken Hill Road, to the northeast, through an area of industrial development and is the only road access to the landfill.

The site also hosts the landfill operator’s offices, a resource recovery hub and a bulk recycling facility which are discussed below.

Resource Recovery

In 2002 Council established Trash Palace to provide residents with an alternative to landfilling unwanted household goods and to increase the diversion from the landfill of materials that are reusable or recyclable. Trash Palace became one of the first purpose-designed resource recovery facilities in New Zealand built with the support of a local authority. Further development has occurred over the years with a major redevelopment undertaken in 2010.

Trash Palace is operated by Metallic Sweeping (1998) Ltd. Activities also include the recovery of metal and plastic from household goods (eg whiteware and electronics) that cannot be reused.

The Council provides the operator free use of the buildings and maintains the building's exterior. In return Trash Palace diverts waste from landfill and returns a small proportion of its turnover to Council.

Bulk Recycling

Following closure of a number of bulk recycling facilities distributed throughout Porirua City as a result of ongoing vandalism and misuse, the bulk recycling facility was opened at Spicer Landfill and is the only one of its type operated by the Council.

A number of organisations have clothing recycling bins co-located with the bins for plastics/ paper/ cans/ glass provided as part of the operational contract with the Council for both kerbside collections and operation of the bulk recycling facility.


The landfill currently operates under the following four resource consents issued by Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC):

  • WGN940046(01) - To discharge contaminants onto or into land or the purpose of landfill wastes
  • WGN940046(02) - To discharge landfill gas, odour and dust to air from the Spicer Land.
  • WGN940046(03) - To divert and discharge stormwater run-off from above and around the site of Spicer Landfill to Mitchell Stream.
  • WGN940046(04) - To take water as leachate for disposal off site from the Spicer Landfill.

The resource consents expire at the end of June 2030.

Spicer landfill 1


The project is primarily looking at how we manage the increasing volumes of waste coming to the landfill. We are currently in a situation where we are running out of room at the landfill and the consents allowing it to operate are expiring.

Based on current usage the landfill is likely to run out of room by 2026/27. Volumes of waste to landfill have increased at a rate greater than anticipated. In order to manage the increased volumes of waste we need to continue to focus on reducing waste. Regionally our target is to reduce waste from 600kg/person per year to 400kg/person by 2026. Even achieving that target, we are left with significant waste that still needs to be managed. Our hope is that waste management through landfill will transition to an alternative over time, but currently landfills still have a part to play and it is necessary to plan for this reality.

To ensure we have enough capacity beyond 2026 at the landfill we need to start conversations and planning now. All going well we are planning to consult during 2022 and hope to lodge the consent applications before the end of the same year.

We’re working through the process to determine impacts on neighbours – our intention is to minimise impacts as much as possible and the technical study review will help us with this.

We haven’t finalised the design yet, but this is something that we will be taking into consideration when developing the design and consulting with neighbours.

Yes, we intend to continue operating during the construction period – we might be operating in a slightly different way, but the intention is to continue to take in waste during construction.

It is possible there will be some visual effects associated with the development of the landfill. A landscape architect will be undertaking an assessment of the visual effects which will then form part of the suite of documents required for consenting purposes.

Construction is unlikely to commence before 2025. Prior to construction starting a management plan will be prepared to outline how the contractor proposes to manage and control the noise in accordance with the standards. There will be construction noise during the day but this will be managed in accordance with District Plan requirements.

This is something we are already aware of happening and we are actively working to improve. We are constructing more litter fences which act as a barrier, reducing the open tip face area at any one time and we are also actively removing windblown litter from around the site.

Although we can’t stop it completely due to the location of the landfill, we are working hard to minimise this occurring.

We use a number of measures to control the odour from the landfill and this includes odour spray lines installed around the perimeter of the active landfill, applying daily cover to the active tip face every evening, and a thicker intermediate cover on areas no longer being filled.

We continually review our operations to ensure that we are doing the best we can to reduce the odour. Below are some initiatives that we are currently undertaking.

  1. We have set up a high priority odour control task group that meets fortnightly to monitor the effectiveness of the odour mitigation measures and explore other potential solutions.
  2. A special site inspection and meeting was recently carried out to review and improve the active tip face filling plan.
  3. The landfill operator has committed to increasing its resources to place a thicker intermediate cover (up to 500mm deep) on the exterior slopes of the active cell. This has been progressed over the eastern slope and more is planned in the near future.
  4. An alternative daily cover (ADC) is being sprayed on weekdays. A deodorant chemical is currently added to the ADC. Additional on-site odour surveys will be carried out regularly to check the effectiveness of the ADC with the additional deodorant. If this is successful, it will also be used on weekends.
  5. We are investigating the installation of another meteorological station on the ridge close to Meridian Road to ensure that it holds better information regarding wind direction and speed that could cause odour impacts to members of the public.
  6. We are going to import and trial an odour neutralizer from the US.
  7. We have a gas extraction system installed that expands as waste filling progresses to actively extract and burn off gas from inside the active cell.
  8. Keeping the active filling area as small as possible and limiting how far waste has to be pushed to its final burial spot. We have also created a new access that will allow us to move the filling area to a location at a much lower elevation and further away from the boundary.
  9. We will let Greater Wellington Regional Council and members of the public know, in advance, whenever there is a one-off/urgent case requiring the landfill to be open and operational beyond its normal operating hours.

The existing discharge to air consent states that there shall be no discharge of contaminants to air from Spicer Landfill that causes an adverse effect that is noxious, dangerous, offensive or objectionable at or beyond the boundary of the site.

It is extremely likely that we will require a discharge to air consent for the new development at the landfill with conditions of consent that we will need to comply with

Our ecology experts will be advising the best way for us to do this. Ecological protection will be a condition of our consent and is something we are committed to getting right.

Currently the results of our stream monitoring indicate Mitchell Stream is in good health. We intend to ensure that continues. Again, there are likely to be conditions to protect the stream in the new consent

Although we haven’t finalised any plans yet it is likely there may be some vegetation removal, including pine trees.

Again, it’s early days for this type of question – we will be guided by advice received from our technical experts but it’s quite possible that remediation work will include additional planting and perhaps fencing.

This does happen from time to time, and we are looking at ways to improve this. We are constructing litter fences which act as a barrier, reducing the open tip face at any one time and also actively removing windblown litter from the site. This is something we are already aware of happening and we are actively working to improve.

Although we can’t stop it completely due to the location of the landfill, we are working hard to minimise this occurring.

Leachate is the liquid that comes from the rubbish as it breaks down and runs through, and out of, a landfill. Currently we manage leachate by collecting it through a system of pipes and pumping it to a lined storage pond. It eventually ends up at the wastewater treatment plan for processing. We manage it this way to avoid leachate entering our waterways.

Yes, as part of the Spicer Landfill Development project we will continue to operate our current recycling facilities

We are committed to reducing waste – regionally our target is to reduce waste from 600kg/person per year to 400kg/person by 2026. We have a raft of waste minimisation and resource recovery initiatives underway across the city.

We’re developing a new diversion facility planned at Spicer Landfill in 2022/24. The hub will include:

  • A construction and demolition sorting centre
  • Food and garden waste facility
  • A community recycle and reuse centre

We are developing a business programme to help businesses be more resource wise and look at how they can reuse, reduce waste and recycle.

We provide kerbside recycling and continue to educate residents on what is collected.

We are part of the citizen scientist programme encouraging locals to set up monitoring sites to feed into the Sustainable Coasts programme monitoring litter on our coastlines.

We hold low waste events like Waitangi Day and Love Local where we work with stallholders to minimise waste from these events.

We fund schools to take part in the Enviroschools programme.

We support individuals to buy more sustainably. Trash Palace at Spicer Landfill is a place to drop off or buy used household items. They have recently opened a Building Recycling Centre stocking a range of used building items.

The main access point will stay the same but may be slightly realigned.

No, currently we don’t have any options that include incineration.

We are aware that the Landfill, like most of Wellington, is on a fault line. Designs for the extension will take this into consideration and all relevant engineering standards will be met.

There will continue to be annual increases to costs of dumping waste (just like there is now). Increases are generally tied to higher operating costs and to national initiatives such as the Emissions Trading Scheme. There is not expected to be an increase due to the landfill development.

Approximately $26 million for the construction of the landfill has been set aside in the Long-Term Plan.

We’d love to hear your views on the development of the landfill check out our engagement sessions advertised on this website.

For more information

If you’ve got any questions contact as at or on 04 237 5089.