Floods rip open old landf ill

By Viv Logie
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The Buller District Council may be slapped with a fine after the flooded Inangahua River this week eroded the old Reefton landfill, closed 10 years ago, strewing the riverbed with rubbish.
“There is rubbish everywhere and it an absolute mess,” West Coast Regional Council consents and compliance manager Jackie Adams said today.
He said the district council had been made aware of the situation on Friday and was given a week to fix the problem before it worsened, but instead it had failed to take emergency action quickly enough, he said.
On Monday, the council was again told to get on with the repairs and apply for consent afterwards, “which is totally legal, as it was an emergency and needed to be dealt with,” Mr Adams said.
However, it did nothing and on Tuesday the river was flooded again and ripped open the old landfill, washing rubbish over a wide area.
In a statement yesterday, the Buller District Council said it had quotes and a works order had been issued for the work, however in the meantime new flooding had already begun to eat into the site.
Inanagahua councillors David Hawes and Graeme Neylon inspected the site, and work began late on Tuesday to halt the flow of rubbish. Buller Mayor Garry Howard and operations manager Steve Griffin also inspected the site yesterday morning and reported that progress has been made in securing it.
As the floodwater had receded and a diversion put in place, restoration and cleanup work was now being undertaken, the council said.
Regional council staff kept an eye on the situation yesterday and Mr Adams said they would now have to decide whether to issue the district council with an infringement notice or pursue a prosecution.