August 30, 2004

Inspection program proves environmental education works

EDMONTON, ALTA-Five years after Alberta Environment and the city of Edmonton launched a comprehensive environmental information and inspection program, the department reports that most businesses in Edmonton's Mill Creek area have improved hazardous waste storage practices. In June, provincial and municipal inspectors visited 71 small businesses in the Mill Creek area that store hazardous waste and recyclables. More than half of the businesses inspected had been visited in 1999 and founf to have medium to high potential for environmental impact. Inspections focused on the storage, handling and disposal of hazardous waste. During the 2004 inspection program, inspectors issued 13 notices of non-compliance, compared to 37 notices in 1999, for minor infractions ranging from no secondary containment for hazardous waste to improper site security. Follow-up inspections confirmed that these issues were corrected quickly and voluntarily. Many Alberta businesses produce hazardous waste and hazardous recyclables, such as used car batteries, antifreeze, leftover paint, spent solvents, corrosives and cleaning products. In addition to annual information and inspection programs that focus on specific geographic areas or industries, Alberta Environment conducts more than 1,000 random, unannounced spot checks across the province every year as part of its continuing compliance assurance program. More information is available from Kim Hunt at Alberta Environment, 780/427-2003.
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