A bid to make a Winton landfill the South's premier dump, with unlimited rubbish potentially trucked in from as far north as Canterbury, is creating a stench with opponents.
AB Lime, which owns and operates a landfill and a limestone quarry at Kings Bend, applied to Environment Southland and the Southland District Council last year for 35-year resource consents to operate its landfill without a limit on how much waste can be dumped there.
At present it is limited to taking 100,000 tonnes of waste a year.
The site has been a landfill since 2004 and is the regional landfill for Southland.
In its application, AB Lime said Otago, Canterbury and the West Coast were all regions facing increasing infrastructure and capacity challenges, and it could take rubbish from those areas without increasing its footprint or ultimate capacity.
"AB Lime ... wish to expand their ability to accept waste in order to become the premier landfill for the southern regions of the South Island.
"The overarching objective is to future-proof the landfill so that it is well positioned to accept waste from a wider range of locations and in a majority of circumstances.
"Importantly, AB Lime would like to provide for the inclusion of waste acceptance in emergency response scenarios as New Zealand works towards having fewer but better managed landfills."
Recently, the site received waste from the response to the bonamia outbreak and to Mycoplasma bovis. It has also taken asbestos, medical, methamphetamine-related and aluminium dross waste.
It said technical assessments of transport, air quality, geotechnical engineering, leachate, stormwater, groundwater and landfill engineering impacts concluded that overall, the adverse effects of increasing activities at the landfill could be effectively managed and effects would be no more than minor.
In January, under a limited notification process, 20 nearby properties were notified about the consent application, as were two others due to potential cultural effects.
Environment Southland integrated catchment management interim general manager Don Rule said seven submissions were received.
A hearing will be held before an independent hearing commissioner in mid-May.
Earlier this month, a pre-hearing meeting was held with the applicant and submitters.
Dipton woman Katie Allan, who has close connections to Winton, has created a petition against removing the cap.
She said opponents understood the waste had to go somewhere, but did not think it right for a small rural town to take so much rubbish from other regions.
"The waste should stay within the district where it is created.
"It is not good for our community."
Specifically, their worries included toxic waste, "unbearable" odour, potential health consequences, possible road damage, truck movements and noise, Allan said.
AB Lime has proposed an environmental management plan to mitigate adverse environmental effects and also addressed other potential issues such as traffic and truck volume.
Its application said the social and environmental impacts of the activities would be considerably less than developing a new facility, and noted a growing population was a reason behind the application.
A consent term of 35 years was sought because a significant investment was required to establish, operate, manage and rehabilitate a large-scale landfill operation.