From landfill debacle to ‘win-win situation’

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A landfill cap in Kaitangata was recently disturbed by forestry operations, but a fix dreamed up by Clutha District Council solid waste officer Steve Clarke could be a “win-win situation” for all involved.

The cap is formed with clay, and covers an old landfill site across from Kai Coal, one of 19 around the region that were closed when the Mt Cooee landfill became the main waste dumping point.

During tree cutting operations by City Forests the clay layer was stirred up, exposing the landfill underneath.

“This causes two issues. It allows rain to soak into the ground, causing leachates to sink into the water table. It also causes rubbish to be exposed and blown in the wind,” Mr Clarke said.

To solve the issue, he had a consultant contact a local business overhauling its premises, which will have tonnes of clay to be disposed of.

The Kaitangata site will require 2000cum to refill, and the amount being offloaded by the local business would far exceed the daily limit at the Mt Cooee location.

“I said, ‘hold on, we’ll take it’. It makes sense for it to come here. It saves them money transporting to another location and it saves us money trying to source from somewhere else.”

Two other parties stand to benefit as well.

Mr Clarke said he was in contact with the Department of Corrections, to enlist the help of community service workers to do the heavy lifting.

While the landfill spot is owned by the council, the cutting rights belonged to City Forests, which may have had to foot half the bill for the damage.

With this arrangement, everybody wins.