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.

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.

In December 2020 the Council approved the redevelopment of the organics plant. 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 preferred contractor is expected to be selected in June 2021, with the contract finalised in July. 

At this stage, we will have a schedule of works from the successful contractor that will confirm exact timelines for construction. 

Read more on Newsline(external link)

Key documents 

Transitional plan 

We’ve worked closely with Living Earth to develop a transitional plan for the organics processing plant. The plan outlines interim measures that will be undertaken before the redevelopment.

Fortnightly updates

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

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

Time-lapse update videos below:

Environment Canterbury and Christchurch City Council will jointly host four public meetings throughout the year.

First community meeting

The first meeting was held on Tuesday 6 April 2021.

A handout [PDF, 2.3 MB] combining a report from Environment Canterbury on odour complaints and compliance monitoring, a report from Living Earth on consent compliance and dust monitoring and an update from the Christchurch City Council on the upgrade of the organics processing plant was discussed.

Second community meeting

The second community meeting was held on Tuesday 18 May 2021. The following documents were discussed:

Third community meeting

The third community meeting was held on Tuesday 17 August 2021. The following documents were discussed:

Online community meeting

An online community meeting was held on Tuesday 7 September 2021. The following report was discussed:

Council meeting 9 September 

The elected Council voted to investigate building a new organics plant at another site. Read the meeting resolutions:

Read our most recent newsletters:

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 identified the two Council-run facilities as significant odour emitters.

As outlined in our action plan [PDF, 799 KB] (external link)we 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 the next steps. Environment Canterbury also produced a monthly review of the odour reports they receive. 

As a result of the changes put in place at EcoCentral, it showed a significant reduction of odour coming from the facility. EcoDrop had no cases of offensive and objectionable odour beyond its boundary in July and August 2020. As a result, Environment Canterbury deemed the facility was operating within the Permitted Activity rule and resource consent wasn't required. 

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

August 2020 

July 2020

June 2020 

An independent research company 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].

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 considered how effective the operational changes have been on 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-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 approve 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.

From 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. The RFP gives selected contractors eight weeks to produce a design for the plant and provide a quote on the cost to carry out the work. A preferred contractor is expected to be selected in June, with the contract finalised in July.

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.