Spicer Landfill Development

On this page you will find

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.

How to have your say

We have held two rounds of community engagement this year and you can read about the details of those below.

There will be another opportunity to provide your feedback when we hold our third community engagement session early next year. Please refer to our timeline below.

Community engagement July 2022

We held our second round of community engagement sessions in July, where we asked the community for feedback on our draft design for the extension and an update on the technical studies. Our feedback period closed on 29 July 2022.

The associated engagement documents are available below, and we will share a summary of feedback received here soon.

Community engagement March/April 2022

We held our first round of community engagement sessions in March and the feedback period closed on 14 April 2022.

A summary of feedback received and associated engagement documents are available below.

What we're doing and when

What we are doing when v2

Minimising waste – the ultimate goal

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.

Spicer Landfill Development How we manage waste

The current waste cycle in Porirua

Despite our 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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Spicer Landfill Development Let's divert waste

Let's divert waste away from Spicer Landfill

Do you know that over half of what goes to Spicer Landfill could be reused, recycled or composted? We want to preserve the precious space we have left and divert and recover what we can.

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What are we doing to minimise waste?

We all need to work together to minimise waste. As a council we’ve got a number of initiatives underway in the city.

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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


We need to plan ahead to ensure we have enough capacity at the landfill beyond 2026.

During this year we have engaged with the community on the technical studies and draft design. We are planning to have our final engagement session in February 2023 where we will present what we intend to file with the resource consent application.

We are intending to lodge the application in March 2023. Please refer to our timeline above to see where we are at in the process.

We’re working through the process to determine how neighbours could be affected. Our intention is to minimise impacts as much as possible and the technical studies and assessment of environmental effects will help us with this.

The resource consent application will need to show that any potential adverse effects are avoided, remedied, or mitigated.

The current Stage 2 landfill is approximately 300 metres from the closest house in Tawa, and around 400 metres from the fringe of the Tawa residential area.

The proposed design of the landfill development would extend the eastern boundary 30 metres closer to Tawa. We have tried to keep the extension to the eastern boundary as small as possible. You can refer to our map for an indicative illustration of these distances.

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.

Spicer Landfill is already visible from some residential areas in Porirua and Tawa.

We’ve modelled what the proposed landfill development will look like, using accurate drone surveys and computer simulations. We’re using this to check the views from around the landfill where it is visible.

The most affected residents will be at Kenepuru Landing and Tawa (above SH1) for residents orientated to the west. In these cases, the landfill is visible but not prominent and only forms part of the wider view. We will be assessing visual effects and checking if there is a loss of amenity to the community.

To view the simulations, refer to our video above.

This is something we’re already aware of happening and we are actively working to improve. We have constructed more litter fences and repaired existing ones, which act as a barrier. We’ve also reduced the area of open tip face operating at any one time and we are 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 was held to review and improve the active tip face filling plan.
  3. The landfill operator is currently placing a thicker intermediate cover (up to 500mm deep) on the non-active areas.
  4. An alternative daily cover (ADC) is being sprayed on weekdays, weather dependent. A deodorant chemical is currently added to the ADC. Additional on-site odour surveys are carried out regularly to check the effectiveness of the ADC with the additional deodorant.
  5. We are currently trialling a combination of ADC and soil cover.
  6. 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.
  7. We are trialling an odour neutralizer from the US that is sprayed on new filling areas.
  8. We have a gas extraction system installed that is extended as waste filling progresses to actively extract and burn off gas from inside the active cell.
  9. We keep the active filling area as small as possible and limit 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.
  10. 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.

We will be applying for a new discharge to air consent for the proposed development at the landfill with conditions of consent that are likely to be more stringent than the current one.

From the draft design and our ecological assessments, we know that some exotic pine forest and exotic and native scrub habitat types will be permanently affected by the landfill development. This will include some vegetation removal, including pine trees.

Ecologists are currently assessing the ecological value of these terrestrial habitats, which will be outlined in the terrestrial Ecological Impact Assessment along with recommended management measures.

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 have increased our water quality monitoring to ensure the health of the stream continues, and to monitor for early signs of any changes in stream health. There will be conditions to protect Mitchell Stream in the new consent.

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 the 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.

Incineration technology is more suitable when large quantities of waste are available to efficiently feed the plant, far greater than the amount of waste received by Spicer Landfill. There are also associated carbon dioxide emissions that would need to be considered.

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.

Our geotechnical experts have been investigating the fault to better understand the seismic hazard and stability of the landfill. This has included borehole investigations and a site visit from GNS.

We’re currently refining our stability analysis of the landfill and obtaining other information to inform our assessment of the effects of the geological and geotechnical hazards.

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 landfill. We plan to hold our next community engagement session in February 2023. You can read about our previous engagement sessions and what we did with the feedback here.

If you’d like to be added to our community stakeholder emailing list let us know at landfillconsent@poriruacity.govt.nz.

We will be requesting that the resource consent application is publicly notified. That means anyone can make a submission on the application once it’s notified and can speak at the hearing if they wish. This is your opportunity to be heard in the decision-making process.

You can find out how to get involved in the resource consent process, and how it works here.

For more information

If you’ve got any questions contact as at landfillconsent@poriruacity.govt.nz or on 04 237 5089.