Work stoppage on Appleton trash pile hoped to be a temporary one - InfoNews

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Work stoppage on Appleton trash pile hoped to be a temporary one

Plans to deal with a mountain of trash on Penticton Indian Band locatee lands were stopped last week after Worksafe B.C. issued a stop-work order on the property.
July 06, 2020 - 5:00 PM

A plan to remove around 3,360 tonnes of assorted construction and demolition debris off a locatee property on the Penticton Indian Band ran into what is hoped is only a temporary snag late last month.

The pile of waste was left at the site after waste collection company Appleton Waste Services went bankrupt last year.

Ecora Engineering of Penticton recently announced its plan to clean up the pile in a three phase effort that initially involved sorting the materials prior to their removal. The sorting came to a stop last week when Worksafe B.C. issued a stop-work order on the site.

Ecora says it developed the clean up plan at no cost, but said in its statement in late June it hoped other stakeholders including the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen, Indigenous Services Canada, the City of Penticton and the Penticton Indian Band would be a part of the solution and contribute to the clean up.

Worksafe B.C. said in an email issued last week, a prevention team attended the worksite on June 29 and conducted an inspection after receiving notification work was occurring at the site.

An inspecting officer noticed the potential for asbestos-containing materials in the waste pile. According to Work Safe, the employer was unable to provide evidence of a hazardous materials survey or any testing to confirm workers were not being put at risk of exposure to asbestos and other hazardous materials, so a stop-work order was placed on the site.

Worksafe B.C. now says the employer must demonstrate there is no asbestos or other hazardous substances in the pile or provide an exposure control plan before work can resume at the site.

Ecora president Kelly Sherman said today, July 6, he is hopeful evidence through further testing will be available soon to prove there are no hazardous materials, namely asbestos, in the waste pile.

He says environmental experts involved in the project say materials containing asbestos would have been eliminated during the demolition stage, but adds further tests will be done on the pile to make sure the asbestos isn’t there.

“Local governments and WorkSafe B.C. were all involved during the demolition stage, and no one has given any evidence to the effect there is asbestos in the pile,” he says.

Once that is confirmed, Sherman says he hopes cleanup can begin again.

Ecora’s plan is to sort the waste on site, breaking it down into recyclable, waste and compostable items.

Clean items will be left on site, waste items removed to a location yet to be defined, and recyclables will be broken down and sorted, probably with the aid of student labour, into blue bins provided on site.

Compostable materials will be ground up on site as well.

Sherman says the landowner is currently on the hook for removal costs with other parties hopefully coming in to be part of the solution. He says the waste component of the pile’s ultimate location has yet to be decided, but he says it “makes sense” it goes to the Campbell Mountain landfill.

The Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen estimated tipping fees of around $3,500,000 last fall at regular rates. Operations manager Andrew Reeder said at the time it would cost $1,100,000 in reduced tipping fees just to break even in order for Campbell Mountain to take the waste.

No material has been transported from the site as yet. Sherman says part of the site was graded, levelled and mounded to keep water from flowing away from the site, and pre-sorted larger pieces of material such as concrete was taken out and placed in smaller, more easily accessed piles on the site.

Sherman says the testing and clean up is currently being hampered by a lack of protective gear, namely face masks.

“Oddly enough the protective equipment needed to do the sampling is not available due to COVID-19 because it’s under such high demand. That was an unanticipated setback,” he says.

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