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Council’s Update on Putorino Landfill

June 11, 2020

The historic Putorino Landfill, closed by 1997, was brought to Rangitīkei District Council’s attention in October 2018 when, due to the Rangitīkei River bank retreating, debris was exposed from the landfill. The landfill was once 300 meters from the river’s edge, but over time the river has eroded the river bank to the point it now impacts the edge of the former landfill site. The landfill site is not actually owned by the Rangitīkei District Council, it was passed onto the District Council from the County Council in 1989; the land is owned by the Crown under the Queens Chain arrangement but the management of the site falls under the responsibility of Rangitīkei District Council.

Since 2018, Rangitīkei District Council have been working with other concerned parties to remedy the situation. When the landfill slip was identified Horizons Regional Council agreed to redirect the river flow path away from the face of the landfill. This work was completed in May 2019. At the same time, Rangitīkei District Council undertook a site assessment to identify options for safe remediation of the old landfill site. “This assessment identified that the majority of the landfill contents was building rubble and steel with a small portion of domestic rubble.” Advises Mayor Andy Watson

Recent media articles show the 2018 video and photographic footage of the Putorino landfill. Last week Council flew a drone to take images of what the landfill looks like now; significant natural vegetation has grown back and the site looks very different than it did in 2018. Debris however still remains, and Rangitīkei District Council, respectful of the potential impact this has on the environment and Māori whakapapa, are urgently and collaboratively working with Horizons Regional Council, Iwi (Ngā Wairiki Ngāti Apa and Ngāti Hauiti) and contractors on ways to safely remediate the site, remove residual material and to avoid discharges to the environment.

Putorino Landfill Web Images1

Image 1 – Aerial view of former landfill site

Putorino Landfill Web Images2

Image 2 - View of river edge, noting concrete and other debris.

Putorino Landfill Web Images3

Image 3 – Plan of former landfill compared with changing flow of river