Category Archives: Rangitikei District Council

Marton’s Waste Water plant to get an upgrade

An article by Zaryd Wilson from the Wanganui Chronicle on the waste water treatment plant that has featured greatly throughout the whole recent process of the consent hearings. The matter being the company Midwest Disposal’s disposal of leachate from its Bonny Glen landfill into the plant. Amounts dumped have exceeded consents and been the subject of a long standing status of non-compliance. You can read about that process on the Bonny Glen page.

(The Bonny Glen landfill was sold to Midwest by the Rangitikei District Council around a decade ago and a leachate-dumping agreement was informally put in place – a gentleman’s agreement – that has been far from satisfactory going by the non-compliance history).

A local has contacted the site recently reporting that there are 7-12 round trips on average per day by the leachate tanker. Sometimes two are operating.

“A multi-million dollar upgrade to Marton’s wastewater treatment plant has been endorsed by councillors.

The plan, which includes a second anaerobic pond, new storage tanks and community involvement in the process, was discussed by Rangitikei District Council’s assets and infrastructure committee last week.

A contributor to the current plant’s failure was leachate (landfill run-off), which was trucked to the treatment plant from Bonny Glen landfill… 

Councillor Nigel Belsham said if it was trade waste causing problems to the plant and not domestic waste, the bill should be picked up by industry.

“I don’t believe that ratepayers in this area should be paying to allow trade waste to be dumped into this plant,” he said. “Opus [consultants] have said that we’ve got a plant that can handle what it was designed to handle.”

Read the article: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/wanganui-chronicle/news/article.cfm?c_id=1503426&objectid=11498302


Further Links:

For info on Bonny Glen: https://envirowatchrangitikei.wordpress.com/bonny-glen/

Leachate history & non compliance reports: https://envirowatchrangitikei.wordpress.com/bonny-glen-submissions-hearings/

Local Feedback: https://envirowatchrangitikei.wordpress.com/bonny-glen/local-feedback/

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The Glyphosate Presentation to the Rangitikei District Council Pt. 3 … Outcome

Following on from the RDC meeting in late March 2015 where the topic of eliminating the spraying of glyphosate in urban Rangitikei’s public places was discussed following a report by Council into cost effective alternatives. If you missed the previous parts, follow the links to Part 1 and Part 2 before continuing here.

The Cost Effective Alternative

Returning to the Council discussion that day, Cr Ash raised the issue regarding cost effective alternatives to spraying Glyphosate. As outlined there, the alternatives were explored in the Council report however some of the detail was incorrect. It was claimed hot water treatment is fifteen times more expensive than chemical spraying. In fact, a company in Auckland, whose contact details I had supplied prior to the completion of the report, was prepared to present information to Council on their system that can operate at the small margin of 10-15% more than chemical spraying. That price, says the company director,  is set to drop even further by the end of 2015 to be on a par with that of chemical spraying. This option however was never pursued and by all appearances isn’t going to be.  According to the recent Rangitikei Mail article,   Mayor Andy Watson, who was not available for comment,  “endorsed the council’s position based on the commissioned report”. The RDC will only be establishing a no-spray register where those who wish to opt out can, and they take responsibility themselves for keeping that area weed free. A no-spray register is standard practice in many cities. If you wish to avoid any other exposure to public spraying activity, basically you can’t, and I’ve seen folk spraying in fairly high wind around here. I’ve also observed children walking on the regularly used track that they take to school … within minutes of being sprayed. The label on Roundup packaging warns about spraying on calm days and waiting for the product to dry before touching what is sprayed. My initial presentation had also included a request for warning the public of imminent spraying and/or the placing out of signs saying spraying is in progress.  Nobody has been agreeable to this either. Neither the contractors nor RDC.

The Market

One of the bonuses we’ve been told about market competition is that prices will be driven down. In this respect I’ve suggested in previous discussions with those concerned here that surely the Council need only seek quotes for chemical free treatment from several competing contractors then secure the most favourable price. During my own research a contractor in one city who applies a salt solution to hardstand areas, said they were simply told to submit a quote for chemical free treatment. For some reason that remains unclear to me, the RDC prefers to lean favourably towards helping the current contractor, Fulton Hogan,  to continue the status quo, and are not willing to introduce any competition.  Surely this would benefit the rate payers. It is possible a local contractor may go even lower than the current one. The Auckland company is willing to look at working with and training a suitable contractor to establish its system of hot water and foam here in Marton.

In Summary

The important matter for me in all this, is health. There is a very long list of health issues with glyphosate and research clearly states it is a ‘probable carcinogen’. Class 2A. I’m left wondering, are people really interested in figuring out what causes cancer?

Bear in mind also, this product is sprayed all over pastures so it has to be in much of our food. It has been found in blood, urine and even breast milk.  As I pointed out in my presentation, the cancer stats are now ONE  in THREE. So one third of your friends / acquaintances / family will statistically be affected by this terrible

The Seralini Rats
The Seralini Rats

plague, and plague it is. I personally can name three brushes with it in my close family. In one branch of my extended family, three deaths from it. In another, two. Among friends, two deaths. These stats are very high. Common sense should be telling us to err on the side of caution and when an organization like WHO is sounding warnings, why are we not listening? Or should I say, why are they not listening?

So, in summary, should you be interested in curbing the spraying of chemicals in your vicinity, be prepared for possible unpleasantness and vilification. Not for the faint hearted. I have received similar from the contractors themselves, one, when I asked him not to spray near my flat, walked right by me spraying within inches of my feet.  The company has now agreed to a compromise and they are weed whacking again. I am spraying a non toxic spray under the trees, at their request and at my own expense.

For further information on glyphosate visit the glyphosate page on this site. You will find direct links to the extensive research near the bottom of the page. (You can view the actual research reports by the researchers themselves). There is also the very defining video by Professor Seralini illustrating his research conducted for two years on lab rats, after which France’s highest Court ruled Monsanto had deceived the public about the safety of their product.

Pam Vernon

~ EnvirowatchRangitikei ~

The Glyphosate Presentation to the Rangitikei District Council Pt. 2 … Question Time

Following on from the RDC meeting in late March 2015 where the topic of eliminating the spraying of glyphosate in urban Rangitikei’s public places was discussed following a report by Council into cost effective alternatives. If you missed part 1, read it HERE first.

The Outcome

Fast forward to the day of the meeting in March when the outcome was given. Council read out their report, embedded in the Order Paper [on page 26, Council Agenda 26 March 2015 electronic version.compressed (1)] which states, briefly,  that a no spray register will be established so that those who wish to opt out can, and any areas thus opted out of will be kept weed free by that person. There was then some discussion around the issue and other possible options put forward. Cr Sheridan suggested that the no spray areas could be sprayed by the current contractor using a non chemical spray. Mayor, Andy Watson however,  foresaw difficulties price-wise with that, potentially incurring more expense for ratepayers, so the idea was dropped.  Cr Sheridan asked why the report had not addressed the initial health issues raised at the forum in November. CEO Ross McNeill responded that he had only been directed to research what alternative options other Councils used … not the health issues. More discussion ensued and Cr Ash tried to point out the recent findings by WHO and Canterbury University regarding health risks. She was promptly reminded that this was question time, not discussion time. Seconds later (still question time) another Cr expounded on the safety of glyphosate with nods of agreement all around.

So you will see here, the way Council operates, there is no room for discussion or dialogue, except by Council of course, amongst themselves, whilst you sit and listen only. There is no opportunity to correct any misconceptions, or to raise any other issues. Your five (rather four) minutes … is it. There ends your input.

Would it not have been pertinent to research the health issues which, after all, were the point of the whole exercise?  It seems the RDC takes the three monkeys approach (if we don’t look at, hear or speak about the research then we won’t need to be concerned … even if it is by Doctors and Professors). By virtue of one very specific Mayoral direction here,  the whole health issue is effectively sidelined. I feel this is a very lop sided way of interacting with the community … the  very people who elect these representatives. You may or may not agree.

Two Other Questions Raised by Councillors

I should add here, in the mix of the discussion, two other questions were raised by other Crs. One was the cost of preparing the report, specifically … how many hours did it take [waste] in preparation? A very pointed question to which of course I was unable to respond in any way.

So here, a person is vilified for daring to raise health concerns for the public, health concerns the public are unaware of because, as has been established by France’s highest Court, the manufacturer has lied about its safety. Everybody believes it is safe.

It clearly isn’t.The other question was, ‘who else was concerned about this issue or was it just one person?’ [that would be me presumably]. I was unable of course to respond to that either … had I been able to I could have said there were, as far as I knew, at least ten other persons anyway. Quite likely more but we shall see.


An UPDATE here: There are currently, as at 16 July 2015,  111 others who are concerned. If you happen to be concerned also, please sign the petition HERE. You could also ‘like’ our glyphosate FACEBOOK PAGE and stay informed with regular updates on this issue.


~ Watch for Part 3 ~

Pam Vernon  ~ Envirowatchrangitikei ~

Rangitikei Mail reports on Rangitikei District Council’s Spraying decision

Spraying Decision Dismays

By Caroline Brown

A Marton resident says she is disappointed with the council’s decision to continue using a chemical-based herbicide for weed control.

Pam Vernon claims the council has side-stepped health concerns about the main active ingredient of Roundup – glyphosate – and instead focused on cost.

The Rangitikei District Council voted on March 26 to maintain existing methods of weed control and to formally establish no-spray lists. Residents choosing to be on the no-spray list would be responsible for the upkeep of the land.  The council contracts the spraying of urban areas to Fulton Hogan.

The council requested a report on alternative methods to chemical spraying for weeds after Vernon raised her concerns around the safety of current methods in a presentation at the end of last year.

Non-chemical sprays, pastes, gas burning and hot water treatment were investigated in the report as alternative options for the treatment of weeds. The council report indicated that cost was a prohibitive factor to many alternative methods.

At the meeting Cr Cath Ash questioned the report’s indication that hot water treatments were 15 times more expensive than herbicide and suggested the council contact some providers for quotes. Ash said the council had an obligation to consider alternative methods to chemical spraying in light of research by the University of Canterbury into the risks of glyphosate and the World Health Organisation suggesting glyphosate was a potential carcinogen.

Vernon said she also had issue with the report’s conclusion on the cost of hot water treatment. She said she had contacted a provider and was told that while at the moment it would be about 10 to 15 per cent more expensive by the end of this year it would be cost comparable.

Vernon said she decided to make a presentation to the council last year after ongoing issues with spraying around her property. She said it was good to finally have a formal no-spray register, however she did not think it went far enough.

“I believe the council are not really interested in finding another option.”

Mayor Andy Watson was not available for comment but in a statement endorsed the council’s decision based on the commissioned report.

 

From the Standard … Wastewaste discharge to Tutaenui Stream to continue

April 10 2015 …. Caroline Brown from Palmerston North’s Manawatu Standard reports on the ongoing leachate issue and the Rangitikei District Council (RDC).

“The discharge of non-compliant wastewater into the Tutaenui Stream from the Marton Wastewater Treatment Plant is to continue, despite two reports revealing a raft of issues at the site…”

The Council Assets meeting reveals more of the usual ‘pay it forward’ rhetoric that’s been going on for nine years already … aka save money now and forward the expense to a future generation. Cr Dean McManaway says …

“…the council could not just wake up one day and say “no more”. It was a business in the Rangitikei employing people, whether the council liked it or not…”

As usual, businesses ahead of the health of the waterways and the people that use them. We may as well expunge from the records any suggestion of “Rangitikei … unspoilt”. It simply isn’t true.

Read the full article HERE 

Wanganui Chronicle reports: Fears over toxic waste raised … Bonny Glen Submissions continue

Fears over toxic waste raised

By Laurel Stowell

CONCERNED: Geoff Mills.PHOTO/ SUPPLIED GEOFF-MILLS
CONCERNED: Geoff Mills.PHOTO/ SUPPLIED GEOFF-MILLS

“Leachate from the Bonny Glen Landfill could make Marton’s wastewater sludge too toxic to be trucked back to the landfill for disposal, Geoff Mills says…

Mr Mills lives in Marton and works in the water quality and water treatment sector. For the last 15 years most of his work has been overseas…

The Marton system has been unable to continuously comply with its resource consent for years, Mr Mills said, despite spending to improve it. Reports have said leachate from Bonny Glen is likely to be having a major effect…

It would be a long and costly process to determine the right pre-treatment for “abnormal waste such as tannery wastes”, Mr Mills said. He was not confident the result would work well, or that the company would be asked to pay the true cost.”

Read the full ARTICLE HERE

UNSPOILT? !!!

tile-rangitikei-1

Further Comment: 

Geoff and his wife Gretta, who both made submissions asked for the hearing to be adjourned until the problem of the leachate disposal is sorted however were denied and told  the consent ….“only concerned effects at the actual Bonny Glen site – regardless of whether decisions on it had effects elsewhere.”

The very topic that is of most concern to many local residents, as previously indicated here, has been effectively sidelined off the books. Another Marton resident, Hamish Allen, also made a submission regarding the leachate and was reminded that the topic was not part of the hearing. It is the Council’s concern we are told, and yet, the both the Council and Horizons have shown themselves to be grossly negligent over the issue … many years of missing reports regarding the levels of pollution discharged into the local waterways with neither a reprimand nor a penal consequence imposed. The public need to become persistent here in requiring both explanations for historical negligence, and transparent accountability for their future handling of this matter, and in particular the apparent collusion between the parties. We have here a typical example of corporate persuasion. The very organization that ratepayers believe are representing them, by all appearances are representing the conglomerate that is seeking to turn our ‘unspoilt’ region into a sewer (or toilet bowl) pretty much.

MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

As an additional note here, this sway that is now commonly held by corporations over governments and regional authorities world wide is a sign of new times to come. This situation will become even worse should the TPPA be signed by our Prime Minister who is currently taking part in negotiations that are secret and that they refuse to divulge to the very people whom they will effect. The TPPA will give corporations the right to sue governments if they refuse to comply with their demands. It is happening already. You can research this at the itsourfuture website. (Links are on this site’s TPPA page.)

~ Rangitikei Environmental Health Watch ~

Submitters not given time slots at hearing

Submitters not given time slots at hearing

By Zaryd Wilson

Submitters on the extension to the Bonny Glen landfill are having to “put their lives on hold” because they haven’t been given a time slot to speak at a resource consent hearing.

A hearing is under way in Marton on the proposed extension of the landfill near Marton.

Rangitikei District councillor Soraya Peke-Mason, who on Monday said the decision to hold the hearing outside Rangitikei was an “insult”, has again criticised the process. She said many submitters in her Turakina Ward were still waiting for a time slot…. read the full article HERE

Comment:

I agree with the concerns outlined to date. The venue to begin with is totally impractical for people who are working or unable to travel this distance daily for the 9 days of the hearings. As has been pointed out in this article, folks are waiting around for a time slot. All of this works against a fair and democratic process. The professionals involved in this process, the people who have spent $1.5 million investing in it and defending it … their salaries will continue and time off work for them is not required. It is their work. The folk who will have to live with these important decisions being made here, are having stumbling blocks put in their way. How many employers are going to freely give these folk time off their work to participate? Who is going to take valuable vacation time off to tend to business? Ordinary people need to survive. Having negotiated these obstacles they are now forced to wait around in uncertainty to speak.

And how difficult can it be to arrange this locally, within reach of the participants, with a practical timetable made well in advance of the event so folks can prepare accordingly? Clearly the decision to hold the even in Feilding has come as a complete  surprise going by Cr Peke-Mason’s criticisms on Feb 16th. Let’s face it, these decisions involve not only the lives of those making submissions, but the lives of their children and grandchildren. Midwest is seeking for consents for a quadrupled landfill with a life span of over 30+ years. It’s very clear here who is the dog and who is the tail in this process.

~ Rangitikei Environmental Health Watch ~

Cr Soraya Peke-Mason calls Bonny Glen hearing location an ‘insult’

Bonny Glen hearing location an ‘insult’

This article is from the Wanganui Chronicle regarding  the venue for the submission hearings …. Rangitikei District Council’s Soraya Peke-Mason has slammed the decision for hearings to be held in Feilding ….

By zaryd.wilson@wanganuichronicle.co.nz

“Soraya Peke-Mason has slammed a decision to hold a hearing on the expansion of the Bonny Glen landfill outside the district, calling it an “insult” to Rangitikei ratepayers.

Midwest Disposals Ltd, which runs the landfill near Marton, has applied for resource consents with Rangitikei District Council and Horizons Regional Council to expand the operation…..” read the full ARTICLE HERE

Bonny Glen Landfill Submissions: What Midwest Disposals is Not Responsible For

In true corporate style Midwest Disposals has (quite legitimately & legally) managed to sidestep most of the very issues the average person would be concerned enough about to make a submission. With just two weeks to wade through 1500 pages of legalese, after the announced application for consent to quadruple in size back in May 2014, 60+ people braved it and did just that. However (and knowing this in advance would’ve been useful) any concerns about increased truck traffic, property values and the leachate disposal … well they’re the responsibility of, not Midwest, but the NZ Transport Agency, RDC and Horizons… and RDC incidentally have already failed to keep consistent and accurate records about leachate volumes being dumped in the Waste Water Treatment Plant … and Horizons appear to have done little about that besides slap them on the wrist with a wet bus ticket. (In case you missed that item of news it appeared a few days before Christmas in the Wanganui Chronicle). Close examination of the consent compliance forms reveals regular non compliance with little if anything in the way of consequences. So neither of these organizations it appears, is doing their job properly.

Regarding the submission issues, the operative words are … (this from your RDC & Horizons representatives)… ‘maybe’ and ‘might’. On the important issue of property prices, “the RMA focuses on the direct effects of the proposal which, depending on their severity, may in turn affect property prices, therefore devaluation of property is a secondary effect”.

Regarding the nuisance of truck traffic through town, Midwest says it is not their responsibility what route the trucks use. It is stated that this is the heavy traffic bypass. Perhaps this needs to be reviewed then. No doubt when that route was originally designated as such, the volume would have been a lot less. Given a member of the public has counted a conservative estimate of 35 trucks in a morning, surely an alternative rural route could now be designated for heavy traffic that is headed to the landfill.

There was also complaint about the refuse dropping off trucks. It’s reported that this is the responsibility of the Transport Agency …  so people need now to be vigilant in reporting, until this is satisfactorily dealt with.

As to volume of truck traffic,  a trucking report last year (links in updates here) assured the public they didn’t anticipate an increase … even though the rubbish volume was set to quadruple. I wonder how this will be achieved?

As to animal deaths. Midwest is agreeing to pay for deaths of stock for which refuse has been proven to be the cause via an autopsy. Should there be no proof arising from the autopsy then the farmer pays. So it is a matter of gambling with that cost and for many I suspect it will be more cost effective to flag the autopsy and write it off as a loss.

Midwest also intends to make a formal agreement with the RDC regarding leachate disposal instead of the former ‘gentleman’s agreement’. Which is what should have been done in the first place. For 8+ years, who knows how much leachate has gone into the waterways that has been beyond acceptable levels? We may never know. Is anybody at all concerned?

Submissions will be heard in Feilding this week, 17 February 2015. Information can be viewed on Horizons Website HERE

You can read the Chronicle article HERE

Presentation to Rangitikei District Council Re Chemical Spraying in Public Places

On November 27th I presented to the Council Forum information (including credible research) regarding the need for some parameters around the spraying of chemical sprays in public places. Click on the documents to read:

Information presented to Council Forum on 27 Nov 2014
Information presented to Council Forum on 27 Nov 2014

Roundup forum presentation, picture image for site0002

Of the twelve Councilors, two are interested in this issue. Clearly convincing people of the authenticity of the independent research is a hard sell. People will either not look at the research or they just don’t believe it … even the long term research of Scientists, Doctors and Professors in their respective fields … unmoved by the obvious conflict of interest that exists in Monsanto testing their own product. The product is not safe. Please read the expanded information on Professor Seralini’s two year long experiment on rats on the Glyphosate page.    Monsanto tested their product prior to release for the required 90 days. Further to this, the following information offered by Dr Meriel Watts from Auckland (see PANANZ website & also link at the end) highlights quite explicitly the problem with the initial approval of glyphosate and Roundup. It follows a govt submission she has recently made regarding very high pesticide levels found in NZ’s baby food (800 times higher than the EU’s). She states that the testing of pesticide levels including Glyphosate, are industry funded, and therefore subject to a conflict of interests. I cite that info here:

1) No critical study in these vital toxicity assessment areas, that form the parameters used to approve our daily consumption, our RfDs / ADI’s, are ever supplied by an independent organisation like, say a university or public interest group.

2) Every animal study for glyphosate (the pesticide commonly known as Roundup) that the USA EPA and the WHO use to apply the ‘non-carcinogenic to humans’ rating, is sponsored and paid for by an agrichemical company.

3) The toxicity studies for glyphosate (Roundup) are all private, obtained directly from contracted laboratories that only work with industry – Product Safety Laboratories, Dow, ABC and Covance. They are unpublished and unavailable for review by public sector health representatives or individuals.

4) The very studies that provide the parameters that end up being residue levels, within toxicity assessment, are only ever supplied by the very organisations that require the toxicity assessment to be declared safe.  In the case of glyphosate, the studies for proving non-carcinogenicity are only ever provided by Syngenta, Monsanto and Cheminova.

5) Furthermore, no study ever uses the stronger, more effective complete formulation of Roundup, (only the weaker active chemical glyphosate is used).   And I believe this ‘policy’ has profound ramifications for our health.

This is precisely why the lack of parameters around spraying Glyphosate and any other chemical sprays concerns me.

Full article & references go here: http://www.rite-demands.org/make-it-safer-blog/

A book by Dr Watts on pesticides and the vulnerability of children is now in our local Marton library or can be found on the pananz website. The title is ‘Poisoning our Future: Children and Pesticides’  http://www.panap.net/sites/default/files/Poisoning-Our-Future-Children-and-Pesticides.pdf

Watching our environment … our health … and corporations … exposing lies and corruption

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