Doug Rutherford

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“We Don’t Know How to Remove a Hazardous Waste Permit…”

June 2011
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I asked for a progress report on what was happening with the Special Waste Permit issued to the house across the street. I was expecting that, given that the city has also been pushing to have the permit revoked, we would have heard that the permit had been dealt with appropriately. After all, how long should you expect it to take when the department finds out that it issued a permit for a hazardous waste storage facility on  residential street. After all, the Envirnment Department staff are the ones to issue the permit. This was issued to a company that was salvaging, on contract from the Territorial Government, wastes from 7 community landfills in the territory.

I was incredibly suprised to receive the somewhat weak response that I got. The action taken to date is to ask the guy to store his wastes somewhere else voluntarily! This, by the way, is from the guy who can’t register his vehicles in the territory to meet a court order so is trying to register them in BC.

My particularly favourite response is from the Manager of standards and approvals who stated,

“As I mentioned last week we are looking at what options are legally available to us to amend the special waste permit to specify a different storage location, beginning with a request for a voluntary amendment. Rescinding a permit is not something that is done everyday so we need to be sure we have the necessary authority and evidence before attempting to do so. “

 Equally cheering were the words of the Director of Environmental Protection,

“Unfortunately we are constrained by legislative procedures as outlined in the Solid Waste Regulations on how and when a permit can be cancelled.  Our first and preferred course of action is that the Permittee will voluntarily relocate his operations which we are pursuing.”

So, in other words, while the Department managed to issue a permit that allows a Special (read Hazardous) Waste Storage Facility in the muiddle of a residential neighbourhood, they don’t seem to have the faintest idea on how to remedy their mistake.

Needless to say, our patience is drawing thin and I think that the story should be told to my former senior producer at CBC News sometime tomorrow afternoon…


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