Spicer Landfill odour

This page gives you information about the odour issues we experience from time to time at Spicer Landfill and what's being done about them.

Background

We have been receiving complaints since December 2021 from residents in the western hills of Tawa and Linden, concerned with odour coming from Spicer Landfill. We are actively working to investigate this and have implemented a number of measures to address these issues.

A public meeting was held in April 2022 to discuss concerns and agree some steps forward. Questions raised prior to and during the meeting have been answered here: Odour Questions & Answers

In addition to the nine current measures being introduced to reduce odour (see FAQ below: What is being done about odour) we are:

  • Implementing regular odour surveys in Tawa
  • Inviting a number of residents to keep 'odour diaries' to help us get a better picture of the issues (download odour diary template here)
  • Planning to have regular meetings with the community liaison group that focus on odour
  • Actively working with Greater Wellington Regional Council on the complaints and investigation process
  • Training local staff (nose calibration) so they can respond and verify odour complaints faster.

Proactive odour monitoring programme

In late May, Council’s landfill services consultant Tonkin & Taylor commenced a proactive odour monitoring programme where they will survey a defined route around the Tawa residential area should specific weather conditions line up.

The intention is to collect baseline data during conditions that are predicted to coincide with more frequent complaints, rather than react to complaints and find that conditions (and odour levels) have changed once officers are able to attend the location of the odour.

Please note that this does not replace the normal complaints process, and that residents should still lodge formal complaints through the GWRC Environmental Hotline as needed.

By doing this, we hope to gain an improved understanding of ambient odour in Tawa associated with the current landfill, and to develop an understanding of odour levels, which the effect of future improvements can be measured against. The programme will run for 2-3 months and will assess the frequency, intensity, duration, character and tone of odour experienced in the area.

The methodology for observation and recording are consistent with European standards.

How to raise a concern or make a complaint

Please call Porirua City Council on 0800 237 1500 and we will also notify Greater Wellington Regional Council.

Alternatively you can use our landfill odour complaint form or email enquiries@poriruacity.govt.nz

When you report an odour complaint it is important that you provide the following information:

Smell characteristics

Which one of these is it most like?

  • Rubbish bin
  • Faeces/sewage
  • Sweet/sickly
  • Sulphurous/rotten egg
  • Garden mulch/decaying vegetation

Smell strength

On a scale of 1 to 6 tell us how bad it is:

1 = barely detectable

3 = distinctive

6 = extremely strong, inducing a physical reaction

Health advice for residents living near Spicer Landfill

Te Whatu Ora public health service have provided some advice for residents living near Spicer Landfill who are concerned about odour effects from the landfill impacting on their health.

You can access that advice here.

Public record of complaints

Our regulatory authority Greater Wellington Regional Council provides regular information on complaints received due to odour from the landfill.

The following graph shows the number of complaints received per month, since January 2012. This graph is updated on a monthly basis.

To view a larger, easier to read version of the graph, click here.


Complaints per month10


The next graph shows a 30-day rolling record of the number of complaints received. This graph is updated on a fortnightly basis.


Complaints in last 30 days_21Nov2022


FAQs

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.

Spicer Landfill is a joint venture, owned by Porirua City Council (78.5 per cent) and Wellington City Council (21.5 per cent). The landfill is managed by Porirua City Council.

Porirua City Council (PCC) reports to a Joint Venture Committee which has representatives from both Porirua and Wellington City Councils (WCC).

EnviroWaste Services Ltd operates the landfill on behalf of the two Councils.

Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC) plays a regulatory role. They ensure the landfill is operating according to its resource consent conditions. GWRC also responds to complaints from the public.

The odour that residents smell is unpleasant but not dangerous.

Landfill staff who may be exposed to landfill gas, for example when working on the gas system or digging into the landfill, wear personal gas sensors. 

The public health service have recommended if you have concerns about symptoms associated with the odour, to discuss this with your family doctor. It is useful to take with you any records of when you experience symptoms and how these are associated with the odour, for example, an odour diary you have been keeping. If your doctor is concerned your health issues may be directly due to chemical or particle exposures, with your permission, they can report this to the public health service for further investigation.

Please click here for further information.

Please call Porirua City Council on 0800 237 1500 and we will also notify Greater Wellington Regional Council.

When you call it is important that you provide the following information:

Smell characteristics

Which one of these is it most like?

  • Rubbish bin
  • Faeces/sewage
  • Sweet/sickly
  • Sulphurous/rotten egg
  • Garden mulch/decaying vegetation

Smell strength

On a scale of 1 to 6 tell us how bad it is:

1 = barely detectable

3 = distinctive

6 = extremely strong, inducing a physical reaction

Reports