A waste disposal company has been fined $70,000 for illegally accepting and storing hazardous asbestos.
Metro Vancouver inspectors caught Mr. Bin Disposal Ltd. in 2011 with piles of bags of the insulation material on its paved yard at its Mitchell Island site.
The bags were marked waste asbestos and some of the bags were not even closed.
Other bags had holes or tears and no one at the facility was observed to wear personal protection equipment, such as facemasks with air filters. Asbestos poses health risks when fibres are in the air and the fibres are inhaled.
According to a statement of agreed facts filed in court, the company was licensed to accept municipal solid waste and recyclable materials.
Mr. Bin Disposal was not licensed to accept asbestos, which a provincial regulation defines as hazardous waste.
On Dec. 21, 2012, Mr. Bin Disposal pleaded guilty to three charges or violations of a regional district licence.
Richmond Provincial Court Judge Ronald Fratkin ordered Mr. Bin Disposal to pay total fines of $70,000, in 16 monthly instalments, to the Greater Vancouver Sewerage and Drainage District, by April 21, 2014.
The company has until Jan. 18, 2013 to remove the excess waste off site. The asbestos waste is to be removed from the facility for disposal at an appropriately authorized facility.
Waste asbestos from B.C. is typically transported to authorized facilities in Alberta or the United States for disposal.
Metro Vancouver's concern is that when hazardous materials are mixed with other waste, it can no longer safely be recycled and diverted from landfills.
"We were really pleased with the fine level," said Ray Robb, Metro Vancouver's environmental regulation and enforcement division manager.
"We are trying to divert waste from landfill, and these violations were getting in the way of that. And we thought it was very important that (the judge) sent this message out there to an industry that is sometimes challenging to regulate.
With a file from the Vancouver Sun
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