Grey District Council expresses concern around Taylorville Landfill
25 May 2023
Grey District Council has become increasingly concerned about the potential future effects of a private landfill located above the Coal Creek water supply intake on the Taylorville Road site.
The landfill was established under resource consent and a series of variations issued by the West Coast Regional Council, based on information submitted by the consent applicant.
While a report submitted with the original application stated that the risk to the district water supply was low, the District Council felt that the potential consequences of getting that wrong warranted a higher degree of investigation to conclusively determine the risk prior to the establishment of the site.
The West Coast Regional Council shared consent documents with the District Council who then had those reviewed by consultancy Tonkin and Taylor, who agreed with the District Council’s views.
Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Waewae also raised concerns that they were not consulted during the consenting process as mana whenua. It was considered that they did not have opportunity to adequately address their interests, in relation to effects on the surrounding land and ecological values of the freshwater environment.
On Friday the 19th of May the District Council, along with representatives from Ngāti Waewae met with the Regional Council, to discuss the matter. Chief Executive, Heather Mabin, acknowledged the concerns expressed and as a result the Regional Council are initiating an independent review of the consenting process and the technical information relied upon to issue consents.
Chief Executive of the District Council, Paul Morris said “the key outcome that the District Council is seeking is absolute assurance that the water source for the towns supply is secured, safe for years to come and that any risk to the supply has been established through best practice.” Mr Morris said that “I am pleased to be working with the Regional Council as they seek to establish that level of long term assurance and was optimistic that an acceptable outcome could be reached.”
The District Council's Group Manager Operations Aaron Haymes said that “safe drinking water for our community is an absolute priority. We are mostly concerned about the possible long-term effects of leachate from the landfill, considering that the expected service life of the water plant is indefinite and landfill effects do tend to span many decades.”
As a precaution the Council has increased its testing regime at the site and residents can be assured that water from the plant is safe to drink. As a registered drinking water supplier, the Council is required to meet strict drinking water standards, and its activity in that regard is scrutinised by national water regulator Taumata Arowai.