Answer Man — Dust from landfill
Dear Answer Man,
Why is there so much dust allowed to blow at the dump between Valleyview and Juniper Ridge? On windy days, the dust will blow and cover half of Valleyview.
The Owl Road landfill has been in and out of the news since it started operation in the 1980s — as recently as this past Thursday, in fact, and I’ll get back to that in a minute.
The landfill is operated by Valleyview Enterprises, owned by Dan Ambrosi. At one time it was a major receptacle for old gypsum board, which led to some environmental issues but that’s now resolved.
(One of the more interesting products buried at the landfill was 20,000 books from the At Second Glance bookstore when it closed a couple of years ago. It was cheaper to bury them than to recycle them. But I digress.)
There have been a number of complaints over the years about waste being blown off the dumpsite, dust control, burning and so on, and some court cases.
In February 2012, then-environment minister Terry Lake was moved to write a letter to the editor of The Kamloops Daily News saying the gypsum stockpile had been buried and capped and that “we are seeing progress on longstanding compliance issues…” and that “other operational challenges such as dust management” were being addressed.
The previous year, a Daily News reader had asked the Reader’s Reporter if dust clouds (see photo) coming off the landfill contained gyproc dust. Ambrosi’s answer was that they were regular dust, and Environment Canada confirmed that strong winds along the bench on which the Owl Road landfill is located typically stir up a lot of the glacial dust natural to the landscape there.
At any rate, gypsum is no longer part of the issue.
On Thursday this week, Kamloops This Week reported that the B.C. Court of Appeal ruled Ambrosi won’t have to pay the City’s $31,000 cost of fighting a fire that erupted at the landfill in June, 2007.
But back to your question. Glen Farrow, the City’s environmental services supervisor, told me the City receives complaints about the dust from the landfill from time to time when wind kicks up. It tends to blow in the direction of Sun Rivers, he said.
However, the provincial Environment Ministry has direct jurisdiction, so I went through Victoria to find out what the current operational guidelines are for the landfill.
Their reply was that Section 3.3.9 of the Environmental Management Act states, “The Permittee shall control dust and odour created within the landfill property using methods and materials acceptable to the Regional Waste Manager.”
Valleyview Enterprises has a contractor apply a commercial dust suppressant, magnesium chloride, to the main haul road, puts gravel from an on-site pit on the other primary haul routes on the property itself to minimize dust generation, and uses a water tanker truck to control “fugitive dust” from the roadways.
“The site is on a silt bluffs area, which consists of very fine silt that is readily picked up and dispersed by wind. The landfill operations create areas of disturbed ground and exposed soils with the excavation of disposal areas, creation of soil stockpiles for fire response and cover material and the actual placement of cover soil on the discharged refuse. Under dry windy conditions, fugitive dust emissions consisting of fine silt can occur at the Owl Road landfill. “
Complaints about environment impacts from the landfill can be directed to the Kamloops office of the Ministry of Environment.
Got a question for the Answer Man? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Photos to accompany your question are always appreciated.
I’ll bet the Regional Waste Manager does not live in Valleyview.