While Ministry of Environment officials remain confident that there is no risk to public health or the environment, the ministry is launching a formal investigation in response to concerns around the approximately 1,800 tonnes of potentially hazardous fly ash shipped to the Cache Creek Landfill from the Burnaby waste-to-energy facility in July and August, announced Environment Minister Terry Lake today.
The investigation is being conducted by the ministry's Environmental Protection Division offices in Kamloops and Surrey, and the Conservation Officer Service.
Staff continue to work with Metro Vancouver, Covanta, and Wastech to deal with removal of the ash. Any hazardous ash must be removed and transported to another facility because the Cache Creek Landfill is not authorized for hazardous waste.
All ash currently being produced by the Burnaby incinerator is being transported to an authorized hazardous-waste facility in Alberta.
This is a non-compliance issue and ministry staff are continuing to work with Metro Vancouver to ensure all environmental standards are being met and that all the necessary steps are being taken to remediate the situation. The B.C. government is committed to a timely investigation.
Terry Lake, Minister of Environment -
"There is currently nothing to indicate any risk whatsoever to human health or environmental safety; however, any potential issue of non-compliance is something I take very seriously, and that is why we are conducting an investigation.
- Burnaby Waste-to-Energy (WTE) facility is owned by Metro Vancouver and operated by Covanta Renewable Energy (Covanta).
- Wastech runs the Cache Creek landfill.
- Metro Vancouver and Covanta are required by the Ministry of Environment to conduct monthly sampling on fly ash from the Burnaby facility.
- As part of Wastech's operating plan, they routinely check and screen waste.
- *Fly ash is the collected particulate matter that results from combustion gases being forced through fabric bags prior to being discharged into the environment.
BC Newsroom - Ministry of Environment:
Ministry of Environment Communications