Asbestos could be heading to Bailey landfill

Chilliwack homeowners and contractors could begin to dispose of asbestos locally

Asbestos dumps are becoming a common sight in the Chilliwack River Valley as contractors and homeowners try to avoid paying for shipping of asbestos to proper facilities.

Asbestos dumps are becoming a common sight in the Chilliwack River Valley as contractors and homeowners try to avoid paying for shipping of asbestos to proper facilities.

The Bailey landfill may soon be able to handle asbestos-contaminated materials.

Chilliwack council was being asked on Tuesday to look at amending the Solid Waste Collection and Disposal bylaw, chiefly to accommodate asbestos materials at the landfill.

Asbestos is a dangerous substance to handle and dispose of, but is prevalent in homes built pre-1990. Historically, homeowners and contractors demolishing or renovating these homes are turned away from Bailey if it’s believed their waste is contaminated.

But that may be one of the reasons so much of the trash is ending up dumped along riversides and backroads, admits city staff.

A report released this week says the lack of an affordable disposal option for asbestos-containing materials in Chilliwack “is likely contributing to the occurrence of the materials being illegally dumped.”

One of the only options for proper asbestos removal and disposal is to use an abatement company, which would then transport the material to a facility in Alberta. It’s a costly process, but exposure to asbestos is also fatally dangerous.

But if council agrees to a bylaw amendment that would see the Bailey Landfill as an approved asbestos disposal provider, it could mean easier — and more affordable — disposal. Staff was asking council on Tuesday (after press time) to give the amendment three readings.

The city is already working with their landfill operator Tervita Corporation, a health and safety consultant, the Ministry of Environment, and WorkSafe BC on the project. They are estimating the initial set up costs and training for staff at $26,200. Ongoing monthly costs to operate the facility are estimated at $24,975, but the report states it would be hard to predict how many will use the service.

Staff is proposing limits to how much waste will be accepted, and in what form.

“The screening procedures at the Bailey Landfill would ensure all building materials that may contain asbestos would only be accepted if properly contained in specified bags and accompanied by applicable required documentation (eg. Manifest, Declaration Form),” the report  states.

They would accept up to 10 bags per originating property, per day, at a rate of $20 per load up to 114kg, or $175 per metric tonne. There would also be a $500 surcharge, plus cost of abatement, for dumping asbestos waste as regular garbage.

Asbestos waste would be accepted from Chilliwack, Kent, Harrison Hot Springs, and Electoral Areas D, E, and H.

The proposed bylaw amendment also includes slight increases to the rate for non-asbestos gypsum, from $125 per metric tonne to $150 per metric tonne.

Orion Engar, FVRD Director of Area E has brought attention to several large asbestos dumps over the past few years in the Chilliwack River Valley.

He said he applauds the city for considering the change, but also wants to see more action from higher levels of government.

“Providing low cost local access for dumping asbestos and other wastes should help reduce the problem of illegal dumping in our natural environment,” he said in an email to The Progress. “Ideally the Province will also find ways to implement tougher deterrents for those who continue to dump illegally on crown land.”

Last year, the City of Chilliwack also added a new policy that requires owners of buildings that were constructed prior to 1990 to verify to the city that a hazardous risk assessment has been completed by an occupational and health safety professional with experience in the practice of occupational hygiene as it relates to asbestos management.

The change was to help support the Worksafe BC regulations that require the assessment.

For a follow up on how council voted on this issue, visit us online at www.theprogress.com.