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Hazardous waste disposal in New Zealand

  • David H. Bell
  • Derek D. Wilson
Management of Hazardous Chemical Waste Sites

Abstract

The quantities of hazardous wastes generated in New Zealand are relatively small, both in total volume and on a per capita basis: they consist principally of liquids and solids derived from primary industries such as horticulture and forestry, and from the Petroleum, chemical and manufacturing industries. There is no satisfactory inventory of hazardous waste quantities or relative toxicity at the national level, nor is there any central coordinating organisation responsible for the implementation of sound management strategies. Current legislation involves several Government departments in statutory or advisory roles connected with hazardous waste management, but administration of disposal practices devolves to regional and local authorities. The occasional uncontrolled discharge of chemical wastes, unsatisfactory past practices regarding landfill siting and leachate management, and the development of major petrochemical industries, together require better coordinated and enforced policies concerning hazardous waste disposal.

The most widely advocated method of hazardous waste disposal for New Zealand is codisposal in appropriately sited and controlled landfills, with particular emphasis on protection of freshwater resources, both surface and subsurface. The secure landfill solution adopted for the Waireka chemical dump site near New Plymouth demonstrates that containment is a necessary management strategy in particular situations: alternative methods of disposal such as incineration of certain intractable wastes should also be promoted as technically feasible and environmentally acceptable. Greater use of replacement, recycling or reprocessing must be encouraged in order to minimise the quantities, and toxicity of hasardous wastes requiring disposal in New Zealand.

Keywords

Hazardous Waste Landfill Site MCPA Dump Site Chemical Waste 

Stockage des déchets dangereux en Nouvelle Zélande

Résumé

Les quantités de déchets dangereux produites en Nouvelle-Zélande sont relativement réduites, aussi bien en volume total que par habitant: il s'agit essentiellement de liquides et solides produits soit par l'horticulture et l'exploitation des forêts soit par les industries pétrolières, chimiques et de transformation. Il n'existe pas d'inventaire national quantitatif non plus que sur le plan de la toxicité, ni d'organisation coordinatrice centrale responsable de la mise en place de politiques de gestion. La législation confie à plusieurs départements gouvernementaux différents des rôles soit décisionnels soit consultatifs dans la gestion des déchets toxiques, mais ce sont les autorités locales ou régionales qui sont responsables du suivi administratif des stockages. Des écoulements accidentels incontrôlés de produits chimiques, des choix non satisfaisants d'implantation de décharges, la non-surveillance des infiltrations et le développment d'importantes industries pétro-chimiques nécessitent la mise en place d'une politique coordonnée et renforcée dans ce domaine.

La méthode de stockage la plus largement recommandée en Nouvelle-Zélande pour les déchets dangereux est celle de la décharge correctement implantée et contrôlée, avec une surveillance toute particulière des eaux de surface et souterraines. La solution adoptée pour le stockage de déchets chimiques de Waireka près de New Plymouth montre que dans certains cas la mise en conteneurs est une solution plus sûre et nécessaire: d'autres méthodes, telles que l'incinération de certains déchets non traitables pourraient aussi être développées. Une utilisation plus large des techniques diverses de transformation, de recyclage doit être encouragée, pour réduire les quantités et la toxicité des déchets dangereux.

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Copyright information

© International Association of Engineering Geology 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • David H. Bell
    • 1
  • Derek D. Wilson
    • 2
  1. 1.University of CanterburyChristchurchNew Zealand
  2. 2.ChristchurchNew Zealand

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