Waste Management welcomes Associate Minister for the Environment Eugenie Sage’s multi-agency initiative to identify risks from legacy landfills.

It follows the environmental disaster caused after a storm exposed waste from a disused Westland District Council dump site.

Waste Management Managing Director Tom Nickels says historic dump sites are problematic and should be investigated to determine environmental risk.

However, he notes that modern landfills bear no resemblance to the historic “dumps” of the past.

“Unlike historic dumps, we want to assure the community that our modern landfills are engineered to safely contain all waste, and we have never had a breach of a landfill that we have constructed.

“The lining system, combined with careful selection of sites and best practice management, ensures there is safe containment of the waste and containment and treatment of all leachate – the liquid from the waste.

“The technology, engineering and the careful management and controls we use today were not in place in the past in New Zealand. We look forward to assisting the government with this initiative in any way that we can,” he says.

Mr Nickels also notes that modern landfills are able to generate electricity, by capturing landfill gas.

“We capture 95% of gas in our landfills and convert it to electricity, transferring that back into the national electrical grid as renewable energy. Current output across New Zealand is enough to power over 24,000 homes,” he says.

Waste Management has won multiple awards and is regarded as a preeminent developer, constructor and operator of state-of-the-art landfill and energy parks for New Zealand.

Redvale Landfill & Energy Park is often held up internationally as a best practice operator, and is currently Auckland’s largest renewable energy generator.