Private dumps now complaint, West Coast Regional Council says

The West Coast Regional Council has taken no further action against two private dumps that were found to be bending the rules of their resource consents.

Sewell Peak Farm Ltd was served with an abatement notice after demolition waste containing metal and plastic from Grey Base Hospital was found at its Taylorville site.

The company – one of whose directors is former regional council chairman Andrew Robb – was consented for clean fill only.

The council’s compliance team leader, Colin Helem, said the concrete waste is now being crushed to remove the steel, and staff are monitoring the site.

The council’s current chairman, Allan Birchfield queried the need to remove the metal at this month’s meeting, saying it was composed of natural elements that would eventually break down and go back into the earth they came from.

Reefton’s Rosco Contracting is also now complying with its consent, Helem said.

The private dump is consented to take asbestos waste but was found to be taking demolition waste from Greymouth Kings Hotel and ordered to stop, when council staff paid a visit this month.

The council has asked for an independent opinion on the staff’s interpretation of the consent.

Senior consents officer Rachel Clark told a community board meeting in Reefton this week that the council investigated all complaints but did not have the resources to constantly monitor every dumpsite from Karamea to Haast.

Helem said that was a fair statement.

“The council has two compliance officers dedicated to checking dairy farms; two who monitor mining consents and one person with a split role between consents and monitoring, for everything else.”

In this month’s compliance report to the council, there were four breaches of the rules confirmed, three of them resulting from complaints – including the Taylorville farm dump site.

At Rotomanu, the owner of 30 dairy cows was found to be breaking the regional rules by allowing the animals free access to Puzzle Creek in the Lake Brunner catchment.

At Mawheraiti, a person excavating a creek was told the work was non-compliant.

And a routine inspection at a Westport dairy farm found the effluent treatment ponds had not been maintained as per the resource consent.

The farmer was told to see to it.

Local Democracy Reporting is a public interest news service supported by RNZ, the News Publishers’ Association and NZ On Air.