The Campbell River Waste Management Centre on Argonaut Road could begin accepting and storing asbestos after it was granted approval to do so by the province and endorsed by city staff.

City Hall takes no issue with Campbell River landfill accepting asbestos

City of Campbell River staff say there should be no issue if asbestos is undisturbed

City of Campbell River staff say they take no issue with the Campbell River landfill accepting asbestos, so long as the ground water is monitored for any changes.

The province recently authorized the Comox Strathcona Waste Management Service to move forward with plans to store and dispose of waste asbestos at the Campbell River Waste Management Centre on Argonaut Road.

Campbell River city council, however, wanted its city staff to take a look at the plans, and the province’s authorization letter, to alleviate concerns expressed by some city councillors.

Drew Hadfield, the city’s transportation manager, said the approval for inspection of materials, handling/placement of the materials and covering of them was granted based on a set of provincial standards and regulations, with a list of conditions attached.

Hadfield said in staff’s opinion, if the handling of asbestos is done properly, there shouldn’t be a problem.

“Typically, asbestos in an undisturbed state is not an issue,” Hadfield said.

However, he suggested the city may want to have the Comox Strathcona Waste Management Service provide the city with its annual ground water sampling reports which are done at a number of monitoring wells on and nearby the landfill “specifically requesting details regarding any changes in water quality associated with the disposal of asbestos materials.”

Hadfield said further that accepting asbestos locally will likely pose a benefit to many in the community who are not sure how to properly handle asbestos and incur great costs to dispose of it.

“The provision of a local asbestos disposal site will allow the city and its contractors that ability to dispose of materials locally at a potential cost savings,” Hadfield said. “This will also reduce or eliminate the need for the city to stockpile this material and ship it off for disposal in Victoria.”

The difficulty in dealing with asbestos close to home was precisely why the Comox Strathcona Waste Management board sought out authorization for the Campbell River landfill to handle the material.

Currently, the closest asbestos and asbestos-containing material disposal site is the Victoria Hartland landfill – the only facility where out-of-region material is currently being accepted.

The Waste Management Service looked at three options and settled on disposal at the Campbell River landfill as it was found to be the most economical at $250-$550 tonne.

The Waste Management Service applied for authorization to accept asbestos in Campbell River last November and received approval a couple of months ago to dispose of a maximum of 240,000 kilograms per year of hazardous waste asbestos in designated disposal sites at the landfill.

The approval comes with a list of conditions that must be met, including that asbestos must be inspected, that bagged asbestos must not be compacted or broken open, that the perimeter and elevations of asbestos disposal locations must be surveyed and clearly marked on site plans, and that warning signs indicating a hazardous waste asbestos hazard must be displayed at the entrance to the asbestos disposal area and at intervals of 25 metres or less along the perimeter of the active disposal area.