January 28, 2000

Emergency cleanup Order issued for Landfill fire site

DELTA, BC-The Environment, Lands and Parks Ministry has issued an emergency declaration under BC's Environment Management Act, allowing it to take action to prevent pollution during the cleanup phase associated with the fire at the Delta Shake & Shingle landfill site. The fire, which has been burning under the surface of the landfill since late November, is expected to be extinguished by the end of January. During the firefighting activities, however, large quantities of waste from the landfill have been transferred to an adjacent site and are being stored uncovered, and the Ministry is concerned that this long-term open storage of waste will cause pollution. Plans call for the excavated waste to be returned to the landfill in a safe manner. The emergency cleanup order authorizes the Ministry to provide the labour, services, material and equipment to deal with the excavated waste and cleanup at the site. The company has not responded to a pollution prevention order issued in mid-December directing it to hire a qualified professional to prepare a remediation plan for the site, and the Ministry is investigating Delta Shake & Shingle for this non-compliance as well as violations of its permit under the Waste Management Act. The province is also taking legal action to recover the costs of extinguishing the landfill fire and cleaning up afterward; the total costs could be up to $4 million.
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