The Why

Why we are Over It!

Ten good reasons why the Levin Landfill should close next year

Time is up for this non-compliant and poorly managed landfill. It’s a disgrace and doesn’t belong in the 21st century. The Horowhenua District Council recently called a nine-month halt to activity at the landfill - to enable community consultation, address long-standing compliance issues, and consider the ‘pros and cons’ of developing a ‘new cell’ on the site. We say: this is a perfect time to close it, here’s why…

  1. The Hōkio community – particularly the local iwi, Pareraukawa and Muaūpoko - have lived with the negative impacts of an uncaring neighbour for over 50 years. The community has suffered as this non-compliant mismanaged site has continued to expand - with noxious and objectionable landfill gas odours impacting the community and toxic leachate polluting the groundwater and local streams, killing fish life, degrading the Hōkio Beach and the surrounding ocean.

  2. This landfill has been in almost continuous breech of its RMA consent conditions. In spite of this, there’s no demonstrable evidence that the HDC has made any serious effort to bring it into compliance, nor have they listened to the community or worked constructively to alleviate their concerns.

  3. People have regularly been subjected to the noxious stench of landfill gas, with over 500 odor complaints registered in recent years. The process for managing them is deeply flawed; complainants have to call an 0800 number and then someone (there is only one person) from Horizons Regional Council (HRC) comes from Palmerston North to ‘verify’ the complaint. Often, the smell has gone or reduced by the time they arrive; complaints are not taken seriously and little investigation is done.

  4. Hōkio has always been an unsuitable place for a landfill. It is set in porous sand country making it difficult to control and contain dangerous toxic leachates leaking from the site. It’s also in area with shallow ground water, close to the Hōkio stream, close to the foreshore and ocean and, upstream from a community.

  5. The landfill is not open to the public and doesn’t have a weigh station or a daily log book, hence it’s difficult to verify what’s being dumped, how much, or where it’s coming from. We understand some of this activity is happening at the Transfer Station. But there doesn’t appear to be data on which trucks by-pass the Transfer Station and which go directly to the landfill. This shoddy behaviour is condoned by the HDC, the Kāpiti District Council (KCDC) and HRC.

  6. Recently, the landfill received more than 6,000 tonnes of soil mixed with contaminants from a highly polluted site in the Wairarapa. HDC says it was safe enough to put on a children’s playground. If it wasn’t contaminated (dangerous or toxic) why were two landfills nearer to the Wairarapa not considered for its disposal - rather than Hōkio?

  7. Since opening, in its current form in 2004, the landfill has been subject to five reviews in 16 years. These include: two by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment (PCE) and three by Horizons Regional Council.

  8. While the HDC Chief Executive has stonewalled community members on the Project Management Group (PMG) in an effort to keep the landfill open, we now know that most Levin rubbish and a majority of Kāpiti rubbish is currently being dumped at the Porirua landfill or at Bonny Glen - near Marton. Let’s keep it this way.

Question: why do we need a new $1.3million ‘cell’ added to a landfill that’s already highly problematic? Interestingly, the HDC refused to accept submissions on the landfill during their Long Term Plan (LTP) process and they appear to have made no provision for landfill costs or remediation which will soon be required. Let’s hold them to account on this work.

  1. In-spite of talk about the money-making potential of the landfill, debt on the facility has been rising steadily for many years. HDC is not divulging exact amounts however interest on the debt and the cost of remediation, which is not being talked about, will ultimately cost rate-payers, big time.

  2. Why should you care? Well, it’s your rubbish and you need to know about the ‘dirty politics’ you’re unwittingly embroiled in. You also need to know that HDC Councillors, who represent you, are being kept in the dark by management and know very little about what’s going on. In the end their vote stand’s between re-opening the landfill and closing it. Act now - write to the Council to make your views known.

In a nutshell: the Horowhenua District Council has shown it’s unable to operate the Hōkio Landfill in an environmentally acceptable manner, within its legal consent requirements. Now, the only option is to close this stinking, polluting site and fully remediate the local environment for future generations. You wonder why we’re Over It… here are just ten reasons!