Waste management

Community and Public Health works with local and regional government to ensure that both solid and liquid waste is disposed of in healthy manner. Otherwise, it can have a serious impact on human health.

Waste disposal takes many forms including:

  • Direct discharge to land
  • Direct discharge to water
  • Sludge disposal

Some of the public health issues relating to waste disposal are:

  • Contamination of drinking water sources by chemicals including nitrates
  • Contamination of soil by heavy metals (found in industrial processes and surface runoffs)
  • The creation of favourable breeding grounds for disease causing bacteria and viruses
  • Odour problems
  • Adverse effects on cultural values of Maori who place high value on their land and water
  • Impacts on aesthetic values

Refuse collection and disposal is primarily the responsibility of territorial authorities and regional councils.

Contaminated sites including old landfill sites are generally responsibility of the regional council.

The public may be unaware of risks associated with refuse collection, disposal and contaminated sites. Wastes need to be managed in such a way that the adverse effects are minimised to protect the environment and public health.

Community and Public Health engages in issues around the treatment, disposal and remediation of solid waste through:

  • commenting on resource consents, council plans and Ministry of Health discussion documents.
  • ensuring public health advice and principles are considered in all waste management policies and strategies.



Contact your local CPH office for further information:

Ph: +64 3 364 1777
Fax: +64 3 379 6125

Ph: +64 3 687 2600
Fax: +64 3 688 6091

Ph: +64 3 768 1160
Fax: +64 3 768 1169

Report on wastewater treatment systems in Darfield and Kirwee released

A 2015 report on wastewater treatment systems in Darfield and Kirwee has found that many septic tanks are poorly operated and maintained.

Canterbury Medical Officer of Health Dr Alistair Humphrey says if septic tanks are not properly maintained, they can cause health and environmental problems.

“Septic systems can work well in rural areas especially if they’re regularly maintained and tank owners are careful with what they put down their sink and use in their home,” Dr Humphrey says.

“It’s good news the reports show septic tanks currently do not present a risk to health because groundwater is very deep. However, if tanks are not adequately maintained health issues could emerge, especially since the Selwyn District is the fastest growing district in NZ.”

The survey of more than 100 septic tanks by CDHB was one of three reports released on the treatment of wastewater in Darfield and Kirwee.

Page last updated: 28/03/2017

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