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Cleaning up the dumps of the past

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Did you know that Aotearoa New Zealand has hundreds of old dumps scattered around the country, and at least 300 of these are at risk of spilling into waterways and the ocean?

It means decades-old rubbish, which has simply been thrown into a hole in the ground, could increasingly cause massive pollution events – and the risk is getting worse as extreme weather events ramp up due to climate change.

It’s why our team is increasingly becoming involved in old dump cleanups and remediation. We are currently partnering with Waitaki District Council to stop three coastal tips falling into the sea.

Two of the dumps are located on Beach Road, three kilometres south of Oamaru, where people have been fly-tipping (illegally dumping) for years.


The third is the now closed Hampden landfill that was operated by the council from 1970 to 1996 and is located next to the beach.

Our team, in partnership with the council and Fulton Hogan, will soon begin work to remediate all three sites.

We will be constructing an engineered landfill cell at Palmerston Landfill and use this to safely contain all the remediated materials which will be removed from the three tips.

There is approximately 30,000 cubic metres of waste – most at the Hampden site – which needs to be safely removed to stop an environmental disaster.

This is a hugely important piece of environmental work for the people of Waitaki.

South Island Executive General Manager Greg Slaughter says back in the 1970s, when the council ran the Hampden landfill, there wasn’t the same awareness as there is today about locating landfills away from the coast and the risks due to erosion. Today’s modern, engineered landfills by comparison are lined, capture 100% of leachate, and are designed to protect the environment.

Greg says the community for years has wanted the fly-tipping sites cleaned up, and we are pleased to work on their behalf to make the coastline beautiful again.

Works are likely to start late this year and will take around 15 months to complete.

Kia ora Greg, Richard Hyndman, Greg Nel and the South Island team for living our values of Sustainability and Service.