Metro Vancouver's Waste-To-Energy Facility in south Burnaby.

Metro Vancouver to pay $3m more for incinerator ash disposal

Failed cadmium tests driving up regional district's garbage costs

Metro Vancouver is searching for a cheaper place to dump fly ash from its Burnaby garbage incinerator instead of the current method of trucking it almost 900 kilometres to a landfill near Hinton, Alberta.

The fly ash – taken from scrubbers in the plant’s stack – used to go to the Cache Creek Regional Landfill, but the regional district has been unable to dump it there since tests in September of 2012 revealed higher than acceptable levels of leachable cadmium in some loads.

The regional district estimates it will pay $3 million more in 2014 for ash management costs as a result of the higher cost of trucking and landfilling the fly ash, as well as increased costs of landfilling bottom ash, which also began failing tests recently.

“It’s definitely substantial,” Metro solid waste general manager Paul Henderson said. “The costs of fly ash management are more than double what they previously were.”

Metro is seeking bids from other landfills to take the fly ash for at least three years and expects to award a long-term contract by the end of the year.

Henderson said that should reduce the costs somewhat compared to the more expensive month-to-month disposal arrangement at Hinton.

Asked why Metro doesn’t dump the fly ash at the Vancouver Landfill in Delta, Henderson said there’s no regulatory reason not to do so but Metro’s practice has been to use an industrial landfill specifically authorized to take incinerator ash.

He said Metro has concluded after continuous testing over the past year since the earlier test failures that fly ash from the incinerator is within regulatory levels.

“That and other information brings us to the conclusion that there was no hazardous waste ever delivered and that it was simply a laboratory error,” Henderson said.

An independent consultant is reviewing all the findings and has yet to make recommendations on what to do with the fly ash that failed tests and is still at the Cache Creek landfill.

Metro Vancouver has also been forced to significantly increase testing of the incinerator’s bottom ash after tests in April showed it also had high levels of cadmium.

In the past that bottom ash – 50,000 tonnes per year – had been used mainly as a road construction additive.

It’s now mostly being landfilled at the Vancouver Landfill, although a few loads found to have more than twice the regulatory limit for cadmium have been separately stockpiled for closer analysis.

Metro officials believe batteries, particularly rechargeables that power electronic devices, are the main source of rising levels of cadmium in the region’s waste stream.

Metro also expects to spend more than $300,000 on consultations and public engagement in 2014 for various projects – including the planned construction of a new waste-to-energy plant, development of a new residential drop-off centre for recyclables in Surrey and plans for a broader ban on organic waste dumping in 2015.

The additional spending won’t have a major impact on the garbage tipping fee, which will rise $1 to $108 per tonne next year.

Tipping fees fund most of Metro’s overall solid waste operating budget, which is up five per cent to $94.1 million for 2014.

Just Posted

Manure company causing ‘toxic’ stink at Abbotsford school seeks permit

Property across from King Traditional Elementary cannot operate manure facility without permit

Agassiz Community Gardens hoping to find new home at old McCaffrey school

The society has been looking for a new location since its previous gardens were sold in October

Kent looking to replace Ferny Coombe pool with indoor facility

The facility being built is dependent on grant funding from the province and federal government

Escape room brings ‘out of the box’ activity to Agassiz

AESS alumni and teacher developed the concept to bring teamwork-based entertainment to the town

Prices still rising, Chilliwack real estate back in balanced territory

Local market is steadier compared to points west with higher increase in average sale price

B.C. opioid crisis to get same world-renowned treatment approach as HIV/AIDS

A program that focuses on treatment as prevention will roll out Jan. 17

Vancouver city council endorses free transit for youth

Mayor Kennedy Stewart will write a support letter to TransLink

In limbo: Leftover embryos challenge clinics, couples

Some are outright abandoned by people who quit paying storage fees and other couples struggle with tough decisions

BREAKING: Jury finds man accused of killing B.C. girl, 12, guilty

Twelve-year-old Monica Jack disappeared in May 1978 while riding her bike along a highway in Merritt, B.C.

B.C. government extends coastal log export rules for six months

Premier John Horgan promises reform at loggers’ convention

Lower Mainland pup poisoned by pot on dike

Five-month-old River was unable to walk.

B.C. pair accused of ‘honour-killing’ in India to be extradited within days

Malkit Kaur Sidhu and Surjit Singh Badesha are accused of conspiracy to commit murder

Netflix rejects request to remove Lac-Megantic images from ‘Bird Box’

At least two shows on Netflix’s Canadian platform briefly use actual footage of the 2013 tragedy

Liberals reject Karen Wang’s hope for ‘second chance’ in byelection vs. Singh

Former Burnaby South candidate dropped out after a post on the Chinese social media platform WeChat

Most Read