Landfill changes rules on accepting drywall in Parksville Qualicum Beach region

"Our biggest concern is that customers don't know the regulations," said the Regional District of Nanaimo's Maggie Warren

The Regional District of Nanaimo is imposing tougher restrictions on some of the more than 800 tonnes of asbestos waste it receives every year.

Adapting to changes from WorkSafe B.C., the RDN landfill in Cedar will now only accept drywall that is clearly marked or coded as being post 1980 said Maggie Warren, RDN Superintendent Scale and Transfer Service. “Asbestos is pretty much the only hazardous material we accept, we don’t take lead-based paints or other dangerous liquids,” she said.

Asbestos was common in construction materials like insulation, cement pipe and wall boards before 1990. According to the RDN, it poses little risk while in good condition, but once the fine fibres deteriorate it can cause serious lung problems, including lung diseases or cancer. Asbestos material accounted for 1.8 per cent of their tonnage last year and is up to 3.5 per cent so far this year, with about 40 per cent of that coming from the Cowichan Valley Regional District.

“Our biggest concern is that customers don’t know the regulations,” Warren said, adding they have a lot of information on their website (www.rdn.bc.ca/cms.asp?wpID=2783).

The NEWS was contacted by a frustrated resident after she tried to drop off a small piece of drywall that didn’t have the required date markings and worries that will mean some of the dangerous material will be dumped in the wilderness. To dispose of known asbestos material you can contact various certified companies, Warren said, or get special bags from the landfill and then drop off the sealed material, by appointment only, on Tuesdays and Fridays. If you are unsure of any asbestos contamination you must have it tested by a certified lab and bring the results with you to the landfill. The material can only be dropped off at the landfill in Cedar, not at the Church Road Transfer Station in Errington.