Asbestos dumped in the Chilliwack River Valley in February 2016. (Chilliwack Progress file)

New limits on asbestos could cause more illegal dumping in Chilliwack, inspector worries

Asbestos limits can be confusing, leading to people dropping materials illegally

Do you know where to dump asbestos-containing materials from your home renovation?

There are new limits to be aware of at Bailey Landfill, as the site works to manage the large amounts that people are trying to bring there. The new limits went into effect on Dec. 1, 2020, and are further to changes that were made back in January 2020.

The city confirms that homeowners and contractors alike are now allowed to dump up to 20 bags of asbestos materials per day, to an annual limit of 100 bags.

The limits have been adjusted from the no-limit policy that began in September 2016, intending to help homeowners doing their own renovations.

The intent, city staff told The Progress, was to provide a local and affordable disposal option for small loads of asbestos waste. One of the benefits included limiting people dumping such material on back roads and in waterways.

But having no limits created an overwhelming amount of material at the landfill, well beyond the intention for the program and the capacity for the site, staff explained.

The average bathroom renovation, for example, would result in about five to 15 bags of waste. But city staff said some homeowners were bringing in hundreds of bags a day from whole house renovations. And while the majority of loads being dropped off for the last few years have been around that size, others were much more unwieldy.

So in January, a limit of 100 bags per day for homeowners was put in place. Meanwhile, contractors were just allowed 10 bags a day.

READ MORE: New limits coming for asbestos at the Bailey Landfill in Chilliwack

When that wasn’t enough to stop homeowners from overwhelming the site, they cracked down even further, resulting in the current limits. The change also increases the amount contractors can bring in daily.

But now, at least one local company is fielding calls that dumping in Chilliwack’s waterways and roadsides has picked up again.

Building inspector Micheal Hill says it didn’t take long for the phones to start ringing at Pre-Construction Services Inc. One of the services the company provides is pre-construction materials testing.

Hill says most of the calls are from the public, looking for answers on how to properly dispose of the mess others are leaving behind. But one that sticks out is was from a church in Chilliwack, where members arrived one day to find piles of asbestos materials in their dumpster. All of a sudden, Hill explains, the church was in charge of the proper removal of the materials. And, as the person who illegally dumped it there knows, that can be a costly and cumbersome process.

Hill says he understands the frustration with the changes, or even the lack of knowledge about it. But there are still ways to properly dispose of materials, he adds, and people need to educate themselves.

All of the information needed on proper disposal of asbestos is available on the city of Chilliwack’s website, or by calling the city directly. Hill says specialists can also help homeowners and contractors with the myriad rules at different asbestos locations.

READ MORE: More asbestos dumped in the Chilliwack River Valley


@CHWKcommunity
jpeters@theprogress.com

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City of Chilliwack