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Dunedin City Council – Kaunihera-a-rohe o Otepoti

A potential new landfill site. FAQs

Smooth Hill map large


Why is Smooth Hill a potential landfill site?– The Smooth Hill site bordered by McLaren Gully and Big Stone Roads was first identified as a potential landfill in 1992 and is legally designated as such. However, that was decades ago and it will be part of our investigations to re-assess the site by today’s standards.

Is this the only site you’re looking at? - Smooth Hill was identified as a potential landfill site in the early 1990s and is designated in the District Plan for landfill purposes. The feasibility studies we are commissioning will look at how suitable the site is for a modern waste facility. Smooth Hill will also be considered in relation to all other potential options for waste disposal, including alternative existing waste disposal sites. We are not currently considering any other potential new sites in the Dunedin area.

What alternatives are there to the Smooth Hill site? - While we aspire to a zero-waste future, the reality is that we will need somewhere to dispose of waste for many years to come. There are a range of other options open to the DCC to manage the disposal of our rubbish. These include potentially extending the life of Green Island, trucking waste to other existing landfill sites in the wider regional area, developing an alternative site in the District, incineration or biological treatment of waste. All options will be considered – including how we can reduce or recycle more waste.

How long have you been planning this? - The need for an alternative landfill or waste disposal site to Green Island was identified in the 1990s. Since then a range of options have been considered for future operating models. The DCC started the Waste Futures project to ensure a robust and focused process so we can make key decisions over the next 12 months.

Are you allowed to put a landfill on the Smooth Hill site? - The site has been designated under the District Plan for “Proposed Landfilling and Associated Refuse Processing Operations and Activities” since 1992. This means that it is identified for landfill purposes under the Resource Management Act. However, before a landfill could be established, other approvals would still be needed. These include resource consents from the Otago Regional Council and building permits.

When is landfill construction likely to occur, if it goes ahead? - The investigation process will give us a clear idea of timing. As an indication, we anticipate investigations will take place in 2018 and 2019. Designs, consenting and procurement would occur around 2020-2022. This means if construction does go ahead it is not likely it to start until around 2022 or beyond.

Would I have to drive to Smooth Hill to dispose of rubbish if it becomes the city’s landfill? - No, you wouldn’t. There would be transfer stations in the city for you to take rubbish to. It would be put into trucks for delivery it to the landfill. Smooth Hill would be a modern landfill facility, run to the latest health and safety standards; as such the public would not deliver rubbish directly to the site.

Will there be noise, smell or run-off? – A new landfill would use large plant machinery such as a compactor and loaders. In general, landfill operations are not particularly noisy and usually only operate during opening hours. The Green Island Landfill operates with neighbours very close by. Any noise issues have been addressed quickly, with no on-going noise related issues.

Landfills have a distinctive odour. A range of mitigation tactics would be used to manage odour at a new landfill. Odour neutralising cannons are effective, as is having a well-established gas collection system. Lime and coffee grinds can be used to neutralise odours on arrival.

Modern landfills are highly engineered. It is common for liners to be used so that any run off is contained and transported off site or treated onsite. It is not anticipated that run off would be an issue.

Would seagulls be attracted to a Smooth Hill landfill?

If a landfill was established at Smooth Hill, it would be run with modern techniques that prevent scavenger activity by covering rubbish immediately. For example, Kate Valley Landfill in Christchurch, established in 2005, uses the latest techniques and is a similar distance from the ocean as Smooth Hill; it does not attract seagulls. Our aim would be to create the same conditions, so seagulls and other pests would have no opportunity or reason to become established

What will the visual affect be? - It is best practice for landfills to be concealed from public view. This can be done with tree planting, bund building and fencing. Given the timeframe, tree planting could start early in the process if required. The natural topography of Smooth Hill means landfill operations would not be visible from any of the current neighbouring houses.

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