The wellbeing and quality of life of our residents is our priority. We want to be part of the wider solution around minimising odour in Bromley and we’re committed to working with Environment Canterbury and our operators to achieve this.

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Organics processing plant redevelopment

The Organics Processing Plant is a Council-owned composting facility in Bromley that is operated under contract by Living Earth. The facility receives all the food and green waste collected in the kerbside green bins.  

The plant has been operating since 2009 and has helped divert over 400 thousand tonnes of organic material from landfill. 

In December 2020 the Council approved the redevelopment of the organics plant [PDF, 27 KB]. This involves upgrading the technology and enclosing all processing of kerbside material, eliminating the potential for offensive and objectionable odour from the facility travelling beyond the boundary.

The additional enclosed area will be kept under negative pressure and all process air treated via a biofilter prior to release. This means all air generated through the process of composting kerbside material will be treated for odour and all processing will happen indoors, eliminating offensive and objectionable odour from the organics plant travelling beyond the boundary of the facility.

The upgrade also involves redesigning and replacing the floors and doors of the plant’s 18 composting tunnels, replacing the shredder and improving the biofilter. No additional tunnels are required under this proposal.

It is estimated the tunnel upgrades and the additional building will cost $21.5 million.

A number of other industries and activities in the area have been identified as contributing to odour in the Bromley-area. These changes will not impact those odours. Environment Canterbury continue to investigate and act on other producers in the area as part of their regulatory function.

We will be asking for expressions of interest in February 2021 and presenting our full procurement plan to the Finance and Performance Committee in March 2021 for approval by Elected Members. We expect to award a contract for the works in June or July 2021.

At this stage, we will have a schedule of works from the successful contractor that will confirm exact timelines for construction. We expect work to begin by the end of this year.

Read more on Newsline (external link)

Environment Canterbury and Christchurch City Council will jointly host four Bromley Liaison Group public meetings throughout the year, which will be split into two sections.  The first part of the meeting will cover general odour and dust issues in Bromley, with industry representatives invited to attend. The second part of the meeting will be the organics plant Community Liaison Group meeting, looking at specific aspects of the facility’s consent conditions.

The first meeting will be held on Monday 1 March. A handout [PDF, 2.3 MB] combining the following will be provided: 

  •  A report from Environment Canterbury on odour complaints and compliance monitoring.
  • A report from Living Earth on consent compliance and dust monitoring. 
  • An update from the Christchurch City Council on the upgrade of the organics processing plant.

Additional research on dust and air sampling in Bromley [PDF, 6.8 MB]

An independent research company has carried out a survey of the Bromley community to gain their feedback on odour.

The survey was jointly commissioned by Christchurch City Council and Environment Canterbury to gather representative views from the community, ensuring they have an opportunity to be heard and to have data that would more fully inform decision making.

A total of 373 responses were received.

We also commissioned a smaller survey of the Bromley industrial area with 28 responses received.

View the results of the residential survey [PDF, 1.8 MB] and industrial survey [PDF, 499 KB].

As outlined in our action plan [PDF, 799 KB] (external link)we've worked with our contractors Living Earth and EcoCentral on potential short, medium and long-term options to mitigate odour at these two facilities. 

Part of the plan involved monthly progress reports during the three-month trial period, outlining the changes made at both facilities, along with next steps. Environment Canterbury also produced a monthly review of the odour reports they receive. 

Our monthly reports, and a link to Environment Canterbury's, are available below. 

June

July

August

 

The unidentified odour in Bromley has been a longstanding issue for the community, and one which has remained complex to investigate. We have a long history of working with Environment Canterbury to try and locate the sources and trial different approaches.

The Bromley residential area is close to an industrial area with a number of businesses involved in activities such as fish processing, fibreglass manufacture, composting and waste processing and wastewater treatment facilities. The estuary and tidal mudflats are adjacent and border the industrial area.

Getting the evidence to take action around odour is not a simple task due to the number of potential variables involved – including multiple sources of odour, wind, weather, temperature, time, distance and topography.

A 2018 study found that of more than 200 businesses in Bromley, about 60 are potential sources of odour, including Council-owned facilities run by Living Earth, the composting operation, and the EcoCentral-run EcoDrop the transfer station.

Smelt-It app pilot study

In March 2020, Environment Canterbury carried out a pilot study that focused on finding the causes of the long-standing odour issues in Bromley.

It involved involving residents’ reporting incidents of odour via a ‘Smelt-It’ mobile app(external link).

Resident reports were then compared to weather conditions and onsite observations by Environment Canterbury warranted officers and an independent odour assessor, as well as operational data from the Living Earth and EcoDrop facilities.

Environment Canterbury said the pilot study findings (external link)clearly identify the two Council-run facilities as significant odour emitters.

Some of the options the contractors implemented included:

EcoCentral

  • When they receive material with a significant odour, it is put into containers before regular loading.
  • Moving waste into containers as quickly as possible. Containers are then shipped to Kate Valley Landfill.
  • Maintaining a clear floor in their pit overnight.

Living Earth

  • Looking at the odour treatment they use, as well as how and when it’s applied.
  • Using additional odour misters, which help to suppress odour.
  • Changing the “compost recipe”.


Following on from the operational changes, the Council has decided to look at the long-term redevelopment of the organics processing plant, spending $22 million on upgrading the plant's technology. This will allow of the compost processing to take place indoors, reducing odour and ensuring the plant is at the leading edge of international standards. 

Bromley odour mitigation timeline

June-August 2020

Operational changes made

Operational changes to mitigate odour are carried out by the Organics Processing Plant and EcoDrop Transfer Station. EcoDrop carry out an independent review of data. 

End of August 2020

Effectiveness of changes assessed

Environment Canterbury and Council to consider how effective the operational changes have been on mitigating odour at the Organics Processing Plant and EcoDrop Transfer Station. 

September-November 2020

Redevelopment options potentially considered

If required, redevelopment options are considered for Organics Processing Plant and EcoDrop Transfer Station. If required, a  resource consent application may be submitted to Environment Canterbury for the EcoDrop Transfer Station. 

End of November 2020

Decision on redevelopment options

If required, a decision will be made by the Council on redevelopment options for the Organics Processing Plant.

From December 2020 onwards

Facility redevelopment option started

If required, the facility redevelopment option starts for the Organics Processing Plant. 

The Living Earth Organics Processing Plant and the EcoCentral EcoDrop are a key part of our city’s waste management system. We own both sites and they are managed by Living Earth and EcoCentral respectively. 

Living Earth Organics Processing Plant

The Organics Processing Plant, operated by Living Earth, processes food and garden waste collected through our green bin kerbside collection service. They also accept green waste dropped off by the public and process food and garden waste from commercial suppliers.

Around 70,000 tonnes of organic material per year are processed through the plant – this is food and green waste that would otherwise go to landfill. The plant turns this organic material into organically certified compost which is then sold to the agricultural sector as a valuable soil improvement.

EcoCentral EcoDrop

There are three public transfer station sites located at Styx Mill, Bromley and Wigram, operated by EcoCentral. Each site allows you to drop off recycling and hazardous waste (household amounts), green waste and general rubbish.

Residents and businesses can drop items at the EcoDrop 7 days a week from 7am to 4.30pm. Rubbish received at each site is compacted daily into airtight containers and transported to Kate Valley Regional Landfill.