The RDEK is hoping someone may have seen an act of illegal dumping at the Canal Flats Transfer Station last week.
“We believe between late afternoon Monday and sometime Tuesday morning someone with a dump trailer disposed of 40 black plastic bags in the wood pile at the Transfer Station,” explains RDEK Solid Waste Superintendent Jim Penson. “The bags were filled with insulation, brown cellulose and vermiculite, which likely contains asbestos.”
What makes this incident of illegal dumping so perplexing is that the asbestos containing materials were watered down to prevent dust, double wrapped in 6mm poly plastic and properly sealed. “They even left their Tyvec protective suits and gloves in the pile once they finished off loading everything,” says Penson. “Clearly they knew the potential hazard of dealing with these materials, took all the right steps to properly remove and handle it and then dumped it in the wood pile at our site where it potentially could have put others at risk.”
The RDEK took immediate action to get the bags cleaned up and safely taken for disposal. “The bags were placed in a double lined bin and the clean up went really well with no exposure to the workers or public,” says Penson.
Aside from the potential risk this act could have created for the users of the Transfer Station, there is a financial impact for all taxpayers in the Columbia Valley. “Had the owners of the bags taken them to the landfill for proper and safe disposal, it would have cost them around $200,” explains Penson. “Instead, all the taxpayers in the Columbia Valley will have to pay for the clean up which involved extra contractors, hauling time and will end up being closer to $2000.”
The RDEK hopes that someone saw the people responsible for this careless act and is able to identify a vehicle or licence plate number. “We would really like to know who is responsible so that we can educate them about the risk of their carelessness and seek compensation for the clean up,” says Penson.
Anyone with any information is asked to contact Jim Penson at the RDEK’s Cranbrook Office.