Ashburton District councillor Richard Wilson was a sceptic of the Kate Valley landfill.
But having recently visited the site he describes it as a “world-leading” operation.
“It is world leading how our rubbish is disposed of and environmentally,” Wilson said.
“It’s very impressive.”
Wilson joined fellow first-term councillor Tony Todd, Ashburton Mayor Neil Brown, deputy mayor Liz McMillan, and chief executive Hamish Riach on a recent open day of the site which is run Transwaste Canterbury Ltd (Transwaste).
The open day was for members of the five council shareholders to get a first-hand look at the operations of the regional landfill.
Transwaste chairman, Gill Cox, said while the site is located in the Hurunui District, “everyone from Ashburton to Amberley has a stake in this operation”.
Like Wilson, Brown too was impressed at seeing how the district’s waste is managed.
“It’s great to see where our district’s waste ends up and how its disposal is environmentally responsible,” Brown said.
“Learning about the amount of electricity being produced from captured landfill methane, and future energy generation opportunities including potentially hydrogen to power vehicles is very interesting.”
The sites visited included the container terminal where full containers are dropped off by the waste truck fleet and empty containers collected for the return trip to the waste transfer stations in each council district.
Visitors were taken to the gas platform where landfill gas powers four generators each producing 1MW of electricity, and to a viewing area to get an in-depth understanding of the disposal process at the landfill working face.
The groups also visited a lookout site to view and learn about Tiromoana Bush, the ambitious 407-hectare bush conservation project.
Cox said most people’s vision of landfills are shaped by their experiences of “going with their parents to drop off rubbish at the old dumps that used to operate around the region”.
“Today’s landfills are nothing like the dumps of yesteryear.
“The precision with which we manage waste, the collection of methane for generating electricity, and the positive impact we’re having on the adjacent native bush are all aspects of our operation that pleasantly surprise visitors.”
- By Jonathan Leask