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Posted on: August 29, 2019

Landfill fires spark reminder about unacceptable waste

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High Level residents are being asked to be mindful of the waste they are sending to the landfill.

Unacceptable waste has been making its way into the waste stream at the landfill and can pose a serious hazard for landfill staff. Some of the items deemed unacceptable can damage equipment, start fires, or be subject to regulations which must be carefully followed.

Landfill“We’re getting a lot of things in loads that really shouldn’t be there,” said Bruce Underhay, Manager for the Mackenzie Regional Waste Management Commission. “(Several) weeks ago, we found some live shotgun shells. Propane tanks are another big one, as well as fire extinguishers. These items be come from residential or commercial sites.

“A battery booster started a fire in one of the loads, and when the equipment operator dumped the load and then went to put out the fire, he found live shotgun shells right beside it. That kind of thing could be a danger to staff, or firefighters and others. Same with propane bottles and things like that, which are an explosive hazard.”

Items such as smooth wire, cable, barbed wire, and banding material can get tangled on equipment and can be difficult and time-consuming to remove.

Ballast in fluorescent lighting could contain PCBs, and they must be removed and inspected.

The landfill does not accept liquids, but workers often discover pails which contain fluids in them.

Common items which must be separated from waste loads include:

Tires

Any type of battery

Electronic waste

Appliances

Liquids of any kind

Oil rags

Biomedical waste (such as syringes)

Hazardous waste (such as solvents)

Any waste which contains PCBs

Propane tanks

Many items are accepted with no charge due to government recycling programs, including: tires, lead acid batteries, paint, oil, and electronic waste.

Unfortunately, crews are being forced to spend additional time removing these items from loads and moving them into designated areas.

There is a sorting fee and equipment fee in place at the landfill which is charged to waste haulers for unacceptable waste which needs to be removed and sent to its designated area. Loads containing waste material which damages or causes a shutdown of that equipment will need to be charged accordingly. Charges will also be applied to items such as Hazardous Waste, which need to be sent to the proper disposal facility.

Anyone who is unsure of whether their waste is acceptable or unacceptable is asked to contact their waste haulers or the landfill for assistance.

“The big thing is if someone has a question about whether they should be putting something in a garbage can or bin, give a call to the waste haulers and ask,” said Underhay, noting residents can also call the landfill to find out more information. “We try to work very close with the waste haulers.

“And there are sometimes things people want to dispose of that we cannot take, and we try to set them up with companies who will properly dispose of it.”

For more information, please contact Bruce Underhay, Manager for the Mackenzie Regional Waste Management Commission at 780-926-2958 or by email at managermrl@telus.net.

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