Quick – Fire Thursday
Q and A with Gareth James – General Manager of Transpacific Waste Management South Island. Topic: Post Earthquake Waste Management.
Q) One week after the earthquake, how well do you think the Canterbury region has dealt with the clean up from the earthquake?
A) Extraordinarily well. It is a credit to all involved, who have stepped up and ensured that Christchurch avoids major potential health issues from rotting food waste.
Q) Was there an action plan in place to deal with waste following a natural disaster?
A) For many aspects there was, but the food waste “mountain” was probably not expected. A plan for the tens of thousands of tonnes of spoiled food waste was quickly developed between Transpacific Waste Management, CCC2, and the perishable food waste haulers early last week and is working well.
The perishable waste is being moved out of the City through a 24 hr per day operation involving transport haulers, transfer stations, CWS waste transport to Kate Valley and the landfill itself.
Q) Has there been more demolition waste/materials disposed of than what was initially anticipated?
A) The waste mountain from Sunday onwards into transfer stations and thence to the Kate Valley Landfill has been almost exclusively perishable food waste from distribution centres, supermarkets, breweries, etc who have to remove the contaminated food waste urgently from their premises. The earthquake demolished most high rack storage systems in these large warehouses, and bottles smashed, spilling alcohol, sauces and the like over all of the other products, creating a stew of vile smelling putrescible waste. This waste has taken priority over all other waste material and will continue to do so for the next two to three weeks (as the cool stores start getting cleaned out).
There has been little demolition waste at transfer stations as this is all going to cleanfills in and around Christchurch.
Q) Was/is waste management made enough of a priority following a natural disaster? Do you think that with an urgency to cleanup and demolish unsafe buildings, the effects on the waste streams are too much of an after thought?
A) It was a major priority of Transpacific Waste Management, CCC2 (Christchurch City owned company), Civil Defense, and Christchurch City. Civil Defense gave urgent dispensations from consents and other legal impediments to moving all types of waste materials away from the damaged sites, which assisted greatly. The priority accorded was what was needed.
Q) Are there any key waste tips that you can suggest for people who are still cleaning up their houses and properties?
A) Don’t rush to take the rubble type material to transfer stations, as we need to get rid of the putrescible waste first. Don’t put rubble into wheelie bins, as they become too heavy to lift.