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Who Works at a Landfill and What Do They Do?

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45 people work for Canterbury Waste Services (CWS). Together they make sure that rubbish is safely collected and stored underground in the Kate Valley landfill.

Hooklift trucks and trailer drivers

CWS employ 17 drivers to drive their fleet of 14 heavy truck and trailer rigs.

  • These drivers start as early as 5 o'clock in the morning.
  • They drive to one of the transfer stations in Canterbury to load the large hooklift bins full of rubbish onto their trucks and trailers.
  • They then drive to Kate Valley to unload the full bins, pick up empty ones, and go on to collect their next load at another station.
  • They usually drive four loads per day to the landfill.

Compactor operators

CWS employ 17 heavy machine operators at the Kate Valley Landfill.

  • Two very important operators are those who drive the very heavy machines that spread and compact the rubbish:
    1. The first machine is a Caterpillar D8 bulldozer that spreads the rubbish out in a thin layer.
    2. The second machine, a Caterpillar 836H, compacts (squashes) the rubbish.

All landfill machine operators are trained to drive all of the machines on site. That includes the two machines mentioned above, but also

  • diggers
  • dump trucks
  • tractors
  • other large earthworks equipment.

Cover soil spreader operators

At the Kate Valley Landfill, like all modern landfills, soil is used to cover the rubbish after it has been spread and compacted.

Specially trained machine operators use landfill machinery like diggers and bulldozers to spread the 'cover' soil over the rubbish at the end of each work day.

Contractors - electricians, maintenance

There are many other tradespeople who work at the landfill. They include:

  • mechanics
  • welders
  • tyre servicers
  • electricians.

CWS usually hire these people from local companies to do the maintenance work on their machines and equipment.

Other contractors are called in from time to time to do things like:

  • mowing
  • road repairs
  • building maintenance.

Ensuring that all equipment, grounds and buildings are well maintained, means that the landfill operations are done properly and safely.

Designers and planners

All modern engineering facilities need to be planned, designed, properly made, and then monitored. To do this, professional consultants are usually used to carry out these jobs. These include:

  • civil engineers
  • environmental engineers
  • various technical staff
  • planners.

Management and administration

All businesses need to be managed and guided correctly. Managers are employed to run CWS which runs the Kate Valley Landfill.

CWS employ 11 people in different management and administration roles at the landfill. These people make sure that all of the work is done safely and efficiently.

Often management staff have been promoted into their jobs after progressing from other roles in the business. It is not uncommon for a good machine operator to learn to do more senior jobs as a manager.

All businesses need administration staff to keep the ‘wheels turning’. These people look after:

  • making sure people are paid on time
  • sending out the bills to pay for waste disposal
  • making sure everyone has the correct gear and training to do their jobs safely.

These people are very important to the business.

Audio Māori keywords: 


Challenge: For one of the landfill jobs, search an online careers site like http://www.careers.govt.nz/ to find out more about it.

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Canterbury Waste Services (CWS) employ 17 drivers to drive their fleet of 14 heavy truck and trailer rigs. Image: Andrew Penny, LEARNZ.

Each of the CWS truck and trailers do about 120,000 kilometres per year. Image: Andrew Penny, LEARNZ.

CWS employ 17 heavy machine operators at the Kate Valley Landfill in North Canterbury. Image: Andrew Penny, LEARNZ.

Two very important operators are the two that drive the very heavy machines that spread and compact the rubbish. Image: Andrew Penny, LEARNZ.

There are many other tradespeople that work at the landfill. Image: Andrew Penny, LEARNZ.

CWS employ 11 people in various management and administration roles at the landfill. These people ensure that all of the work is done safely and efficiently. Image: CWS.