Why is the landfill closing? FAQs
Landfills don’t operate forever. The Green Island Landfill is likely to come to the end of its functional life sometime between 2023 and 2028.
Resource consents giving the DCC permission to run a landfill at Green Island Landfill are due to expire in 2023. We are likely to apply for new consents and we are investigating how long landfill operations could continue at Green Island.
Current estimates are that the landfill can keep taking waste for five-10 more years. However, this depends on volumes of waste, which have increased with the closure of the Fairfield landfill in 2017 and may increase further since the Chinese market for recyclable material had reduced.
What we need to find out
In looking at how long operations could continue at Green Island, we need to know what is needed to enable this, e.g. consents, physical works. Our investigations will provide a more robust assessment of potential capacity at Green Island, what this might mean for operations and any extension or new consent requirements.
Frequently Asked Questions
What will happen to the site after the landfill closes - It is likely that the site will still have a long-term role to play in the disposal of waste for Dunedin, probably as a transfer station. The DCC will be responsible for caring for the Green Island site long after it ceases to function as a landfill, monitoring it and preventing any contaminated run-off.
How far out can you extend the Green Island Landfill consents? - The landfill has a final shape that the current consents are based on. By 2023 the landfill will not yet have reached this shape. Therefore, there is unused space. Depending on the amount of waste coming in, it is likely the space will be used up by 2028. A significant reduction in waste coming into the landfill would change the filling rate and it could take more than 10 years. Regardless of whether landfill activities are going to continue, the site will need consents relating to leachate monitoring.
If consents are extended time-wise, how much bigger will the landfill get and in which direction will it expand? - Existing consents relate to the current footprint and do not allow for the landfill to expand beyond that. It will build up vertically. A portion of the landfill (closest to the Clariton Avenue neighbours) is already at its final height, so it is just a process of bringing other areas of the landfill to the same height to be capped. The Waste Futures review may recommend an extension to the footprint of the landfill and consent.
What will happen to the unused landfill area? - Once the landfill has been completed, either when the consent expires in 2023 or when it is built to the final design, it will be capped in accordance with the Ministry for the Environment guidelines. The landfill will still have an active gas collection system and leachate pumping system. Both of these systems and environmental monitoring will continue for decades after the landfill has closed.
In the future the site could become a community asset, such as a recreational area or area of biodiversity. It is likely the site would still be used as a transfer station and for waste diversion.
Will it be noisy or smelly? - Noise, smell and seagulls are all managed at the landfill to try to limit impact on neighbours. If the site is operating as a transfer station after the landfill has closed, it is expected these issues will improve.
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