Tag Archives: In-Stream Biota Survey

Marton Residents Report Wind from the Bonny Glen Landfill Direction 6-7 km Away Smells ‘Obnoxious … like sewage’

I was contacted this week by residents who live in town reporting a foul, sewage-like smell blowing from the direction of the Bonny Glen landfill situated some  6-7 km away. This is in addition to the smell of passing trucks which, as previously reported, drop bits of refuse on the roads. Two of those people who gave feedback on the truck situation had this to say:

  • truck numbers are static but there are bigger and heavier truck and trailer units
  •  3 went past within 5 minutes this morning at 7.10am, empty, and making a really loud crash sound as they hit the bumps and manhole covers outside our house, shaking the house
  • The tankers taking leachate to the wastewater treatment start about 7-7.30am and continue until approx. 4pm, making about 7-8 round trips per day (also report 12 pday). However since this report of last year, these days the leachate tanker is seldom seen (so have they changed routes?)
  • How that is affecting the plant is unknown, but I understand that RDC are to spend upwards of $1million to upgrade to cope with this leachate, a good example of the ratepayers subsidising a corporation? (Yes indeed)
  • Doors and windows are warped and sticking due it’s believed, to the continual earthquake-like house shaking that goes on with the passing trucks
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Some Marton residents hear up to 3 trucks in the space of 5 minutes drive past, shaking their homes like an earthquake

Comment:

Is the leachate tanker now taking a different route given it’s not seen any more? At late last year’s reporting by community members the leachate tanker count was 12 sometimes 13 trips on average per day. This is a considerably higher than the mere 2 to 3 figure bandied around last year and signals cause for concern at the volume being dumped in the WWTP, given the plant was not coping with 2-3 loads.

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Leachate is dumped into Marton’s WWTP in unknown quantities under a ‘gentleman’s agreement’, regularly exceeding consent levels

Readers may recall the submission made to the consent hearings last year (2015) by a (then) local man, Hamish Allan, on the issue of leachate and the Tutaenui Stream’s pollution. At the time he was a member of the Marton Community Committee (MCC – a conduit for action between the public and Council) and he said that:

“…a member of the public came to us because they were concerned about ‘Enviro Waste’ trucks disposing of industrial waste from Bonny Glen down a manhole in ‘the junction’. “

Mr Allan outlines the difficult process he experienced in getting any action on this issue. He said that: “…by bringing up the issue of the leachate in our recommendations we were genuinely endeavouring to be an effective liason with the community so…

What could be a relatively simple & democratic process – providing straight-forward answers to straight-forward questions – became an opportunity for Council to tell us off about small-scale procedural matters, with only one councillor voting against the motion, to her eternal credit.

What’s more, the minutes of the Community Committee meeting in February 2012 detail Council’s deliberate attempt at avoiding any direct response to the issue of the leachate…”

… they simply refused to accept the recommendation of the MCC! You can read the submission yourself here. You will find there also,  full details of the ongoing and shocking non compliance issue regarding the pollution of the Tutaenui Stream.

In conclusion, the MCC appears to be giving merely the illusion of a democratic process.

Clearly from Mr Allan’s report of 2011 and 12 events, that avenue for addressing pertinent issues didn’t work. I attended one of the MCC meetings last year to ask when an in-stream biota survey would be conducted to assess the aquatic life of the stream. They should be made three yearly according to the consent, however in Mr Allan’s submission he points out that there hadn’t been one since 2002. At the meeting I attended the Mayor Andy Watson was present and spoke to my question. There was no date given for a survey nor any indication there would even be one. In answer to my query, what action should I take as a member of the public or words to that effect, I was advised to email the Council (ie the Mayor and Councilors). I did that subsequently and have heard NOTHING since.

Clearly also, the democratic processes within your democratically elected council are not working in favour of you the public who incidentally are funding the whole machine with your rates.  Whom it does appear to be working for are the Bonny Glen Landfill owners, Midwest Disposals. 

To read more on historic feedback on the vagaries of the landfill go here.
For the history of the landfill and the quintupling (almost) of its original size go here.

EnvirowatchRangitikei

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A Rangitikei observer reports seven to twelve truckloads of leachate per day for the WWTP

The Marton Waste Water Treatment Plant is up for a multi million dollar upgrade as reported recently in the Wanganui Chronicle. It was noted in the article (and locals of course know this) that “…a contributor to the current plant’s failure was leachate (landfill run-off), which was trucked to the treatment plant from Bonny Glen landfill..” 

According to RDC’s own report of December 2014 “Marton’s WWTP is configured as a domestic/municipal wastewater treatment based upon pond technology. It is not well suited to provide high levels of treatment to significant industrial trade wastes of a complex nature”. 

The Chronicle’s article goes on to say that … “The landfill’s owners are now working on pre-treating the leachate and the council’s utility assets manager Joanna Saywell suggested Midwest may be able to fully treat the leachate within a few years.”

The operative words here are “working on”, “may be able to” and “a few years”. This non specificity will allow all parties concerned to drag their feet for quite possibly another decade or so  given the wheels of bureaucracy turn very slowly. Note they have dragged their feet for one decade already whilst polluting the Tutaenui stream to who knows what extent … as  deputy Mayor “Mr McManaway said it was a worry that records of what was being put through the system [that he serves] had not been maintained.” (Wanganui Chronicle 20/12/14). In fact, with 10 of the required 36 reports over nine years either missing or non-existent, and a decade of largely non-compliance, going by the water testing that did occur,  we can fairly safely conclude it’s in a bad state. And the in-stream biota surveys? There’s been none since 2002 … the consent requires one every three years so four are missing. (These surveys tell us the state of the stream’s aquatic life, if any). My two queries in March to RDC asking if there’d be another one hasn’t garnered a response yet.

In December 2014, pre-consent stage, the official reporting of leachate-truck activity was one load every two days:

“Leachate is put into the waste water system about every second day under a ‘gentleman’s agreement’ between the council and Bonny Glen operators Midwest Disposals Ltd… Some days leachate can contribute almost 70 per cent of the ammoniacal nitrogen levels which regularly exceed consented levels..”  Wanganui Chronicle 20/12/14

A person on the truck route commented on the article however that they were seeing the leachate truck go past at least three times a day. A conservative estimate then would make that one round trip a day at least.

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Waste water treatment in Marton

Fast forward eight months. The consents are granted to quintuple the landfill size (not quadruple as previously broadcast) with a now increased volume of leachate due to the extended capacity of the landfill. It’s been observed by a local who lives on the truck route, that the leachate tanker is making seven round trips a day on average, and often there are two tankers working bringing that up to twelve round trips a day, six days per week.  So we have progressed from an estimated six truckloads per week to a conservative forty two to seventy two per week. That is quite some increase.

We are certainly going to be needing that multi million dollar upgrade and let’s keep our fingers crossed that Midwest “may be able” to treat the leachate themselves “within a few years” as they’re saying. As Nigel Belsham’s quoted in the article, “… if it was trade waste causing problems to the plant and not domestic waste, the bill should be picked up by industry.” 

But then we do have a gentleman’s agreement that it appears, at all costs must be kept. Hopefully RDC will see their way clear to getting an in-stream biota survey soon so we can know how trashed the Tutaenui really is.

If you haven’t surely already deduced this, RDC, like councils everywhere these days, has been placing corporate interests above the interests of both the environment and the people who elect them. These same councils espouse ‘sustainability’ – the new ‘buzz’ word – while in reality their practices are everything but sustainable.

EnvirowatchRangitikei

From the Mayor: Time required regarding the leachate issue

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NOTE:  CLICK ON THE ARTICLE TO ENLARGE

From the District Monitor, time is said to be required regarding this issue.

12 March 2015     I attended the Marton Community Committee meeting last night where Mayor Andy Watson was present, and raised the historic issue of there having been both missing and non-compliant leachate reports. This was not regarded as an unusual occurrence and in the bigger picture, neither it seems is the state of our water ways (whatever that may be given the Chronicle report prior to Christmas indicated that was difficult to guage , given reports were missing). I did express the irony of this given Horizons was mandated with protecting our environment, clearly set out in their website banner.

As regards the in-stream biota survey and the fact one had not been done since 2002, it remains unclear as to whether there will be another done to assess the health of our local stream, in spite of the fact that the consent required one every three years. I was advised by Mayor Andy to notify himself, the CEO and the Councillors by mail to further this matter.

To date, as at 20th May 2015 nobody has acknowledged my email. Ironic isn’t it that one is encouraged to communicate on’es concerns on a matter to the council via its community committee, only to be told at that meeting, to email the matter to the very persons one is speaking to at that meeting about the concern.

~ EnvirowatchRangitikei ~