Comox Valley to begin shipping asbestos to south Nanaimo landfill

NANAIMO – Regional District of Nanaimo's landfill is expected to take asbestos waste from Comox Strathcona Waste Management in late-2016.

Regional District of Nanaimo directors have approved a measure that will see asbestos waste from the Comox Valley accepted at the regional landfill in Cedar.

Regional District of Nanaimo directors have approved a measure that will see asbestos waste from the Comox Valley accepted at the regional landfill in Cedar.

The Regional District of Nanaimo’s landfill in Cedar is expected to begin accepting asbestos waste from Comox Strathcona Waste Management later this year.

The waste management service is a function of the Comox Valley Regional District, which has a lack of asbestos disposal areas,  according to the Nanaimo regional district.

Comox Valley seeks to transport the waste to Nanaimo’s landfill as a short-term fix as it works on a long-term plan.

A deal will begin after a landfill berm project is completed in the fall and run until Dec. 31, 2017, with an option for a one-year extension. RDN will charge the standard out-of-area asbestos waste rate of $600 per tonne. It is estimated to generate between $120,000-$180,000 over the course of the year.

Asbestos waste will only be accepted on Tuesdays and Fridays when trained staff and equipment are available, said Larry Gardner, regional district manager of solid waste services. Waste must be bagged, as per Work Safe B.C. regulations, he said.

“When it is received, it is taken up to the [landfill’s] working face and it’s basically immediately buried and it’s buried with half a metre of material. It’s either soil or it could be other waste, but essentially if it’s buried it removes any of the risk of the release of fibres,” said Gardner.

He said asbestos doesn’t decompose and is an inhalation hazard, but burying it mitigates that. It doesn’t travel with ground water and there aren’t environmental effects, he said.

“Burying it in a landfill, given we know there’s lots of materials in a landfill that you don’t want to encounter, it makes it a safe place for it to be disposed of because it’s not likely it’s going to be ever re-excavated,” said Gardner.

Berm construction is estimated to end in November, said Gardner.

Comox Valley made the request to Nanaimo in March and Nanaimo’s board gave approval at its May 24 board meeting.

The regional district said accepting waste before the berm is completed would “exacerbate the existing operational challenges working in a constrained area.”