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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Community Liaison Group meetings

Tuesday 17 May 2022 meeting:

Tuesday 15 February 2022 meeting:


Newsletters

Recent newsletters:


Transitional plan updates

We worked closely with Living Earth to develop a Transitional Plan [PDF, 759 KB] for the organics processing plant. The plan outlines odour mitigation measures that we have undertaken.

As part of the transitional plan, we provided fortnightly updates to ECan with the progress made on the implementation of the proposed changes.

Recent updates: 

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 under Living Earth since 2009 and has helped divert over 400 thousand tonnes of organic material from landfill. 

As part of our Transitional Plan, we installed a time-lapse camera at the Organics Processing Plant so you could see the reduction in outdoor compost. 

Recent time-lapse update videos:

In April 2022 the Council agreed in principle to relocate the organics processing operation to an alternative site. 

A report back on the shortlisted alternatives, compared to the redevelopment of the current site, will be presented to Council by the end of February 2023. A report will come back to Council at the end of May 2022 on the full net cost and implications of stopping operations at the current organics processing plant immediately.

We recognise that the organics processing plant has been identified by the Bromley community as contributing to the long-standing odour issues in the area. Despite improvements over the last two years to mitigate odour, last month a petition with 316 signatures was presented, calling for the organics processing plant to be moved out of Bromley. 

The Government has also announced a proposal for the separate collection of food waste – both commercially and residentially – which could increase demand for processing facilities.

We are now in a position where we need to think ahead and work out what will be the best option long-term option for Christchurch. It is the Council’s view, at this stage, that given the sensitivity of the current location, relocating the plant to an alternative site is preferred.

We hope that the decision to progress the options for the relocation of the organics processing operation to an alternative site will be welcomed by the Bromley community. We thank the community for their patience and understanding while we work through the next stage in this process.

Finding a new location

There is currently no preferred site for a new organics processing plant.

Over the last seven months, we have worked with an independent consultant to do early investigations on potential sites and technology combinations. The preliminary investigations have shown us that alternatives to the current site are feasible. 

Over the next 10 months, we will be working through procurement processes to produce a shortlist, including options for location, partnerships, joint ventures and commercial opportunities for the future processing of organics.

Timings

The procurement process needs to be robust to ensure we are exploring all options for potential alternative sites along with commercial and partnership opportunities. 

A report back on the shortlisted options, compared to the redevelopment of the current site, will be presented to Council by the end of February 2023. The new Council will then be able to make the final call on the preferred option for the organics processing plant.

If the Council opted to build an organics processing plant in another location, the process of investigating, consenting, procuring and constructing a new facility would take a minimum of three years. However, there are variables within this that would fall outside of the Council’s control, realistically extending the timeframe to four or five years. If we looked to partner with an existing operation this timeframe may potentially be reduced.

We appreciate that the timeframe for this investigation and procurement process is lengthy, however, this is a significant piece of work so we want to ensure councillors have all the information they need to make an informed decision on the future of the organics processing plant.

Whatever decision is made, we need to ensure the organics processing plant is fit for purpose – including having the right location, technology, cost and climate impacts.

Costs

Until the procurement process is completed, the cost of the preferred option won’t be known.

Read more on Newsline(external link)(external link).

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)(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)(external link)clearly identified the two Council-run facilities as significant odour emitters. EcoDrop was later removed as a significant emitter by Environment Canterbury. 

Community and industrial surveys

An independent research company carried out a survey of the Bromley community in November 2020 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, 2.3 MB] and industrial survey [PDF, 499 KB].

1994

Composting garden waste started at the Bromley site.

March 2009

The plant started accepting and processing kerbside organics and food waste.

June to August 2020

Operational changes made

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

End of August 2020

Effectiveness of changes assessed

Environment Canterbury and Council considered how effective the operational changes have been in mitigating odour at the Organics Processing Plant and EcoDrop Transfer Station. Changes made by EcoCentral were found to be effective at reducing odour beyond the site boundary and Environment Canterbury deemed a resource consent was not required for the transfer station.

September to November 2020

Redevelopment options potentially considered

Redevelopment options are considered for Organics Processing Plant. The upgrade would see the plant's technology upgraded to allow for the majority of the composting process to take place indoors. 

December 2020

Council approves organics plant redevelopment

The Council approved a $22 million upgrade of the Organics Processing Plant. The upgrade involves redesigning and replacing the floors and doors of the plant’s 18 composting tunnels, replacing the shredder and improving the biofilter. The upgrades would ensure that all parts of the composting process would be fully enclosed, removing any potential odour or dust.

December 2020 onwards

Facility redevelopment option started

The facility redevelopment option starts for the Organics Processing Plant.

April 2021

Final stage of tender process released

The final stage of the tender process for the redevelopment of the organics plant, the Request for Proposal (RFP), was released on April 27 2021. The RFP gives selected contractors eight weeks to produce a design for the plant and provides a quote on the cost to carry out the work. A preferred contractor was expected to be selected in June, with the contract finalised in July.

September 2021

Council approves investigation of alternative sites for organics plant

The redevelopment of Bromley’s Organics Processing Plant was paused after the Council voted to investigate building a new facility at another location. Work is underway to look at options for potential new sites and technologies before a report is due back to Council in April 2022. The option of redeveloping the existing plant is also still being considered. 

April 2022

Council agrees in principle to relocating the organics processing operation to an alternative site

The Council agreed in principle to relocate the organics processing operation to an alternative site. A report back on the shortlisted alternatives, compared to the redevelopment of the current site, will be presented to Council by the end of February 2023.