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Fraser Valley Regional District official charges 'irregularities' found in fly ash test results

B.C. Environment Minister Terry Lake is on the hot seat at the Fraser Valley Regional District after "irregularities" were found in test results of fly ash at the Cache Creek landfill.

FVRD chair Sharon Gaetz said the irregularities call into question the accuracy of the reports, and she said there appears to be no plan in place to deal with about 1,800 tonnes of the hazardous material.

"What began as an attempt by Metro Vancouver to cover up the testing irregularities has escalated into an attempt by the ministry and Metro Vancouver to stonewall remedial action and downplay our concerns," she said in a Tuesday new release.

She said the FVRD has reports that "missing" results of fly ash tests conducted in July and August point to toxic levels that are up to six times higher than those normally allowable.

But Lake recently said the fly ash only exceeded the tolerance level "to a small degree."

Gaetz also charged there is no plan in place to deal with the fly ash, despite Lake's assurance that Metro Vancouver would be moving it to a remediation site.

"It has not been excavated or moved, and Wastech, the operators of the landfill, are examining a further 2,500 to 3,000 tonnes that may also be affected," she said.

Fly ash is a residue produced by incineration.

The FVRD has been at odds with Metro Vancouver over garbage disposal every since a proposal to build waste-to-energy facilities to incinerate non-recyclable garbage was put on the table.

FVRD officials complained to the minister that the regional district, which would receive the worst of the air emissions, was not being consulted by Metro Vancouver.

Now Gaetz is again charging that Metro Vancouver is still not responding to FVRD environmental concerns - and that Lake is doing nothing about it.

"Frankly, we expected more from the Ministry of Environment, whose role it is to safeguard the environment and ensure that their own regulations are enforced," she said. "Instead, the FVRD is leading the charge.

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