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Council Grants Consent for Landfill Earthworks

Environment Waikato has granted consents for earthworks and discharges from the closed Te Awamutu landfill.

Waipa District Council had applied for consents to undertake earthworks, discharge leachate into the ground, and discharge landfill gas into the air from the closed landfill.

Nineteen submissions were received from neighbours and others. The District Council intends to contour the landfill to promote surface runoff, complete the construction of a cap over the refuse, then cover it with topsoil and grass it. Refuse would be removed from within 10 m of the Mangapiko stream and Paterangi drain, and put onto the landfill before it was capped.

A riparian strip would be created within the 10 m margin next to the stream and drain, and be planted with native species.

The District Council said the landfill was operated between 1940 to 1992 in two stages. Although both stages had been closed for some time, final rehabilitation of the sites had not been completed and the applications sought authorisation for the ongoing discharge of contaminants to ground and discharges to air, as well as creating the riparian margin.

The Council said it may also wish to build a road across part of the landfill to provide better access to the waste water treatment plant, which will soon undergo a major upgrade.

Submitters were concerned about the future use of the land and particularly the effect of grazing cattle on the landfill cap, and wanted the results from monitoring of discharges reported back to them.

Environment Waikato staff said it was not appropriate for it to dictate options that the District Council might choose for ongoing land use, including constructing the access track, so long as the integrity of the cap was maintained. Heavy grazing was not likely to be possible without damaging the cap, staff said.

The applicant said an After-care plan to would address how the site would be managed to maintain the cap.

In making its decision, the Committee said that monitoring had not shown significant environmental effects that would warrant measures other than those recommended in the staff report. There remained the potential for adverse effects to occur, so monitoring would be needed to demonstrate the ongoing effects.

The Committee commended the applicant on the level of consultation undertaken, and its attempts to satisfy the concerns raised by submitters. It said the After-care plan was the appropriate mechanism to manage ongoing use of the site. Future land use must not compromise the integrity of the cap, it said.

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