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Spicer Landfill odour issues necessitate short-term solution to space woes

Managing Spicer Landfill

Porirua City Council is committed to tackling short and long-term issues facing Spicer Landfill, namely odour, and needing more room for the city’s waste.

David Down, Council’s Manager Water and Waste, says the existing consent to operate the landfill expires in 2030. The current rate of waste going to landfill means space in the current filling area is likely to run out by 2027/28.

Council had been seeking to lodge applications this year to extend the life of the landfill out to 2050, something signalled by Council since 2009. However, due to ongoing odour issues, this will now be delayed, and Council will look to create more space within its existing landfill designation boundary and consent timeframe - a short-term solution to ensure that space for waste does not run out.

Mr Down says Council is still committed to the long-term future of the landfill, but odour issues continue to be problematic and need to be sorted.

"Putting measures in place to minimise odour remains our number one priority, but public complaints indicate we still have some challenges around this. We’re combatting the issue on many fronts including installing odour-neutralising spray cannons, increasing the amount of cover, and reducing the size of the active face, as well as increasing the running times of the deodorant spray lines.

"Despite putting in place these measures to address the issue, the number of odour complaints from neighbouring residents remains high. We are simply not in a position to lodge an application to extend the life of the landfill while we are still grappling with this issue."

Mr Down says that creating additional space for waste within the existing landfill designation boundary and consent timeframe buys more time to find a solution to the odour problem while still meeting the waste disposal needs of the community.

"The landfill is a critical piece of infrastructure required to support economic development in the city and to provide resilience after a major event like an earthquake or flooding. While we’re working hard to reduce waste going to the landfill, there will always be some demand for waste disposal.

"We are committed to transitioning to a low-carbon, circular economy alongside the rest of the Wellington region. We are planning for a new waste diversion facility at Spicer Landfill in 2024/25. It will take a while for the flow on effects of these measures to filter through but in the meantime the region continues to grow and with this comes more waste."

Mr Down says Council will continue to closely monitor odour and to trial new solutions and will regularly review the situation with the view to progress with a resource consent application when it can.

"In the meantime, we plan to continue to operate the landfill up to the current consent expiry in 2030," he says.

Mr Down says work behind the scenes on the consent application will continue so that when the odour is better managed, Council will be ready to lodge its application.

29 Mar 2023