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
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.
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.
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.
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.
More revelations on Nestle from Claire Bernish at ANTIMEDIA, August 20, 2015
Some thoughts on our own supplies of water in NZ:
Many Kiwis will be aware of similar water issues here, particularly the Hawkes Bay where water rights have been sold to a Chinese company at bargain rates, giving them the right to extract, bottle and sell, whilst local orchardists pay through the nose for water to irrigate their orchards. Watch for a post on this issue. Water rights is an issue of growing importance, something we were all warned about by Maude Barlow in her book ‘Blue Gold’. These supplies, particularly aquifers, are indeed gold now as the rivers world wide are becoming increasingly polluted to the extent they are unsafe to drink or often even to swim in, as in the case of Lake Horowhenua. Continually the environment is being compromised in favour of corporate profits, and our authorities are letting them away with it. This reeks of corruption in the light of our so called ‘sustainable’ councils which speak
with forked tongues. Not only are they allowing foreign companies to pillage precious supplies at ‘mates rates’, they also turn a blind eye to industry’s ongoing and blatant pollution of our precious waterways. This is evident in Rangitikei’s ongoing issue and lack of accountability with regard to the dumping of leachate into our water systems by local landfill owners, Midwest Disposals. Watch this space.
Now More on California & Nestle’s Super Cheap Water Rights
“In 2013, the company drew 27 million gallons of water from 12 springs in Strawberry Canyon for the brand — apparently by employing rather impressive legerdemain —considering the permit to do soexpired in 1988.
But, as Nestle will tell you, that really isn’t cause for concern since it swears it is a good steward of the land and, after all, that expired permit’s annual fee has been diligently and faithfully paid in full —all $524 of it.” ….
“There is another site the company drains for profit while California’s historic drought rages on: Deer Canyon. Last year, Nestle drew 76 million gallons from the springs in that location, which is a sizable increase over 2013’s 56 million-gallon draw” …
“Though there is no way to verify exactly how much Nestle must spend to produce a single bottle of Arrowhead spring water, the astronomical profit is undeniable fact: the most popular size of a bottle of Arrowhead 100% Mountain Spring Water (1 liter) retails for 89¢ — putting the potential profit for Nestle in the tens of billions.
Read the full article here:
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.”
For info on Bonny Glen: https://envirowatchrangitikei.wordpress.com/bonny-glen/
Leachate history & non compliance reports: https://envirowatchrangitikei.wordpress.com/bonny-glen-submissions-hearings/
I was contacted today with further feedback on the trucking situation in Marton and the Bonny Glen Landfill owned and operated by Midwest Disposals, sold to them a decade or so back by the Rangitikei District Council. There have been ongoing local concerns with their gentleman’s agreement to dump their leachate into Marton’s Waste Water Treatment Plant (read a submission made by then local man Hamish Allan), with a trail of non-consents that Horizons have failed to enforce adequately, if at all. With the landfill now set to quintuple in size following the granting of consents to extend, trucks will almost double in number in spite of claims last year that they would not increase at all. A member of the public has expressed an extensive list of concerns regarding noise, smell, volume of traffic and the leachate problem. I have quoted and slightly condensed these:
- “I am appalled at the number of rubbish trucks passing our house 6 days per week, and the noise and vibration they make
- In addition, the number of tankers taking leachate to the Marton Wastewater Treatment Plant is far in excess of claims made by Mid-west Disposals. The number of trips per day is 7 at least, and some days when 2 tankers are used, a total of at least 12 loads are dumped in the Marton treatment plant
- I fear that this amount of leachate will cause major problems and poisoning of the rivers that receive outflow
- I fear it will become a cost to the ratepayers of Marton while the company responsible gets away with not paying for the damage
- I believe Horizons should be checking and stopping this pollution
- This landfill must be opposed and shut down as it is a major pollutant of our region
- we can smell the tip at times when the wind blows from that direction, 6-7 kms away.
No clean and green Rangitikei, just dirty smelly and polluted. It is a disgrace.”
Please contact the site if you have any similar concerns regarding this landfill and how it is affecting you. And or contact the RDC and let them know.
~ Envirowatchrangitikei ~
Here is a story of pollution at its worst. ANZAC, unexpectedly this year (2015) became the avenue of discovery and the event that prompted me to write this post. A note first to non-Kiwis/Aussies, ANZAC stands for Australian New Zealand Army Corps … every 25th of April, we commemorate our brave soldiers … our parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, brothers and sisters, who both risked and sacrificed their lives in the two World Wars.
I hadn’t intended going to an ANZAC service and haven’t done since my father passed away in 2007. It brings back my deep sadness at losing him. An ad however, in the Horowhenua Chronicle, was brought to my attention by a family member about a special service to be held at Lake Horowhenua, Levin, honouring Lord General Freyberg for the centenary of the Gallipoli landing. My father had been his driver for four years during WWII, and Lake Horowhenua was one of the venues Freyberg had trained at in NZ as a young swimmer. His swimming would later earn him the VC (Victoria Cross) in WWI. The Horowhenua Chronicle read:
” Lieutenant General Bernard Freyberg was a dentist in Levin before World War I; by the end of the war he was a decorated hero and recipient of the Victoria Cross. He earned the first of his four Distinguished Service Order medals for a swim he undertook on the morning of the invasion of Gallipoli on April 25, 1915. In darkness, Freyberg had towed to shore a raft of flares to light as decoys before undertaking unarmed and alone a reconnaissance of the large army entrenched nearby.”
This ANZAC service was being organized by Phil Taueki (Muaupoko iwi) one of Lake Horowhenua’s owners and kaitiaki or guardian of the lake. The original commemorative plans would have seen swimmers crossing the lake however, those plans were dropped. You will see why shortly.
We had no idea Freyberg had trained in Lake Horowhenua, or even that he had lived so close to our home town, only fifty or so minutes drive away. We decided to go to the service and take along with us the group photo my father treasured of the General, the General’s batman (also my father’s good friend) Laurie Keucke and himself, taken en route from Arrezzo, Rome, when they’d stopped for a ‘brew up’ and refreshments .
Lord General Freyberg
“… although it could be frightening being on the road and always vulnerable to attack, nevertheless the General was always without fear … ” L. Sgt. James Vernon (Driver)
My father remembered Freyberg as a fearless man who already had 18 wounds at that time. His driver from El Alamein to Monte Cassino to Rimini, he said that although it could be frightening being on the road and always vulnerable to attack, nevertheless the General was always without fear.
Freyberg apparently had a sense of humour too behind his fearsome exterior and knew the boys called him ‘Tiny’. Because his parents had emigrated from the UK to NZ when he was just a small child, he would undoubtedly have experienced the Kiwi culture and its characteristic sense of humour growing up. For example, when staff who didn’t like the fact that Kiwi soldiers didn’t always salute them, he’d suggested they try waving instead!
“… they wouldn’t get away with that in the British Army … ” (General Freyberg)
The New Zealand guys always gave him a bit of stick too my father said. Knowing of his swimming expertise, when Freyberg and his men were getting ready to cross the Sangro River during the Italian campaign, someone called out, “Hey Freyberg, you gonna swim across?”. This was met with a tight lipped, “they wouldn’t get away with that in the British Army”, and as always with this kind of comment, a gleam in his eye.
The kind of man the Freyberg was is evident too in his posing for the group photograph. Generals wouldn’t normally be photographed I’ve been told, with that level of staff . After WW II when Freyberg visited Dad’s home town Whanganui, he’d broken rank and hugged my father when he spotted him in the parade … exclaiming how he always remembered the wonderful breakfasts he’d cooked him in the desert. I always remember him as an excellent cook. After Freyberg’s appointment as Governor General of NZ after the war in 1946 my father and other of Freyberg’s staff I’ve heard, would call on him for a cup of tea at his home in Wellington, and every year, there would always be a Christmas card from Government House.
Returning to Lake Horowhenua, it turns out that the pristine lake the young dentist had trained in all those decades ago, had since been transformed from a valuable source of income and kai (food) for Muaupoko … into a literal toilet bowl. Raw sewage had been pumped into it for two decades starting in the 1950s, and although it ceased in the 1980s, the lake has continued to be polluted to this day by effluent from both surrounding dairy farming and from local agricultural activity. The price tag to clean up the pollution and realize the dream of having swimmers cross the lake on the day was estimated by Horizons to be $2.886 million.
This story is all too familiar. Here in the Rangitikei we have our own pollution scenario, where locals have complained that the extension to Bonny Glen landfill to now nearly quintuple its size, will turn our ‘unspoilt’ district into the toilet bowl rather than the ‘grain bowl’ of the lower North Island. ‘Unspoilt’ is the featured word on our official district logo. This is clearly not true.
“Two-thirds of more than 160 monitored river swimming spots in New Zealand have been deemed unsafe for a dip” NZ Herald 30/1/2015
Read Part 2 of this post with more on the events that transpired that ANZAC Day.
~ EnvirowatchRangitikei ~
This week a local person contacted the site expressing concern with the trucking to Bonny Glen. Here is a summary of those concerns:
- I am beginning to be more concerned over the number of trucks going along Wanganui Road
- Speed is a BIG Issue… speed’s always been an issue but there is more noise and speed than ever before… seems to me that something like a road hump needs to be put in place to slow them down because road signs certainly don’t
- The noise of the trucks has increased, one hears them bumping over who knows what
- Trucks are entering Marton, and leaving it in the small hours
- The state of the road has deteriorated and will get worse I am sure
- Is there another route that could be used? If it must continue?
Backtrack to mid 2014 and we had reports saying that if consents were granted to quadruple the landfill size the trucks are unlikely to be more numerous on a daily basis … (Feilding Herald Aug 14 2014) now the consents are granted and the landfill is set officially to almost quintuple we are told there WILL be an increase of trucks from an average of 42 to 73 per day (Manawatu Standard 12 June 2015).
Note, I have also reported on the site other expressions of concern over trucking noise and speed. A truck every ten minutes (35 in a morning – modest estimate) and at very early hours. This person reported the entire house shaking when they went by, often dropping refuse along the way, and leaving odour. The person is not alone in their concerns, other neighbours are also fed up with the trucks.
If you’re concerned in any way with the state of affairs concerning truck nuisance, put them in writing to the RDC Mayor and Crs, and/or make them known at the Community Committee meetings that meet every second Wednesday of the month. Details on the RDC website.
Please also consider contacting the site so the information can be registered there as well.
~ EnvirowatchRangitikei ~
The Chronicle is reporting on the leachate. There have been more discussions regarding the ongoing treatment of this toxic runoff: “Leachate from the Bonny Glen landfill may soon be treated on site rather than, or before, being dumped into the Marton wastewater treatment plant…”
We heard on June 12th that: “…it would still be a few months before a solution would be finalised concerning leachate…” and that ” Bonny Glen manager Paul Mullinger … was taking the issue “very seriously”. They are “… considering some sort of on-site treatment and did not view the issue as insurmountable”… and Deputy Mayor Dean McManaway says “It’s important we keep chipping away and not let this rest.”
Note the operative words here: “may … few months … considering … chipping away”.
It is interesting that on one side of the table, the company that managed to secure a nice loose ‘gentleman’s agreement’ to dump the toxic leachate in the first place, and contaminate our local stream to the extent RDC and Horizons seem unwilling to conduct ongoing in-stream biota surveys, concealing just how loose that agreement was … and on the other side that same company managed to effectively exclude all discussion of leachate, truck nuisance and landfill pests from the hearings altogether. And now it’s all go ahead with the consents safely in hand, still we’re required to ‘chip away’ at things. Some of us are not fooled by all this drag-the-chain rhetoric.
In the meantime, as the latest Chronicle article points out, the waste water treatment plant is still non-compliant.
Read the article here: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/wanganui-chronicle/news/article.cfm?c_id=1503426&objectid=11465277
“While more rubbish is set to pour into soon-to-expand Bonny Glen Landfill, the Rangitikei District’s water and roading will not be trashed.
The Rangitikei District Council assets and infrastructure committee heard on Thursday it would still be a few months before a solution would be finalised concerning leachate from Bonny Glen.
Leachate causes a problem for the Marton Wastewater Treatment Plant….
Bonny Glen manager Paul Mullinger …. was taking the issue “very seriously”….Cr Dean McManaway said it was good to see this was a priority. “It’s important we keep chipping away and not let this rest.” “
Watch this space … leachate ’causes a problem’ is quite an understatement … witness seven years of regular non compliance which RDC has failed to address thus far in spite of it being highlighted by Marton’s Community Committee. RDC is ‘chipping away’ at this and … it will reportedly be several months before a solution is finalized.
Here’s hoping this will not be another of those delayed solutions that never quite materializes.
~ EnvirowatchRangitikei ~
Read the article by Caroline Brown here: http://www.stuff.co.nz/manawatu-standard/news/69307957/bonny-glen-landfill-impact-on-water-and-roads-to-be-managed