The Rotorua landfill will be officially capped from this week but users won't be affected by the changes.

Rotorua Lakes Council, together with landfill operator Waste Management, have been reviewing options for the future of the landfill following findings in the 2015 Waste Assessment that highlighted a reduced annual income, health and safety risks to staff and users, and the need to reduce environmental risks.

During recent months a transfer station building has been constructed which will allow users to dump waste away from an open tip face as well as creating a space that is cleaner and easier to maintain.

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Infrastructure General Manager Stavros Michael said the move to a transfer station type system was part of the action plan that was adopted by the council in 2016 as part of their Waste Minimisation Strategy.

"Our aim is to enhance landfill health and safety standards for both staff and the customers, reduce the environmental impact of an open landfill and investigate sustainable long-term options for the cost of running the landfill," he said.

The transfer station building, similar to Waste Management's in-town facility on Te Ngae Rd, allows users to dump their rubbish on to a concrete floor. The rubbish is then loaded into a truck and taken away to Tirohia landfill.

The current landfill area will be capped from Friday September 14 using a process that works to keep gas in and water out by layering earth, special geotextile membrane and grass on top of the rubbish.

Waste Management New Zealand as the landfill operator is responsible for any capital investment and covered the cost of the construction of the new transfer station building.

Pricing and the types of waste accepted at the landfill will remain the same.

The council said volumes of waste going to landfill had decreased in recent years and the introduction of kerbside recycling meant more waste was diverted from the landfill.

There was a significant health and safety risk in having people near the tip face of the landfill and close to heavy machinery which required a complete review of the operation.


Environmental risks also meant further investment was needed to ensure the landfill met environmental standards.