Kate Valley on show for local authority shareholders

Published: 22 March 2023

Transwaste chair Gill Cox (left) and Ashburton Mayor Neil Brown at the Kate Valley landfill.

First-term councillors Tony Todd and Richard Wilson had an opportunity to see first-hand how the Ashburton district’s waste is managed when they attended a day of activities at the Kate Valley landfill recently.

They were part of a group from Ashburton District including Mayor Neil Brown, deputy mayor Liz McMillan and Chief Executive Hamish Riach who joined council representatives from Christchurch City, Hurunui, Selwyn and Waimakariri for the day at the landfill, which takes municipal waste from all over Canterbury.

The visitors were shown the monitoring systems used to track everything from the movements of waste vehicles across Canterbury to gas extraction rates and leachate management within the landfill.

Mayor Brown said there was value in seeing first-hand how waste was managed.

“It’s great to see where our district’s waste ends up and how its disposal is environmentally responsible.

“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 event opened with a welcome from Transwaste chairman Gill Cox who says the regular shareholder events are a great opportunity for councillors and council staff to see first-hand how their districts’ waste is managed.

“The Kate Valley Landfill is where the municipal waste from Canterbury councils is sent so while we’re located in Hurunui District everyone from Ashburton to Amberley has a stake in this operation,” he said.

Other speakers at the event included Canterbury Waste Services (CWS) Regional Manager Rangi Lord (who leads the operational team running the Landfill for Transwaste) and Transwaste Board Director Gareth James (who has been involved with Transwaste since its inception in the 1990s). Gareth gave a presentation on the development of the joint venture, the search for the landfill site, its construction and containerised transport operation.

The scene setting completed, the visitors began visiting four locations around Kate Valley to get a first-hand look at the operations of the regional landfill.

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.

“Many people’s expectations of landfills are shaped by their earliest experiences of going with their parents to drop off rubbish at the old dumps that used to operate around the region,” Mr Cox said.

“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.”

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