The Regional District of East Kootenay is reminding residents of the importance of properly disposing of solid wastes after an incident at the Kimberley Transfer Station. The transfer station was closed for a brief period on Sunday afternoon (March 28, 2021) after staff encountered fumes while loading garbage into a haul truck.
“We immediately evacuated the main building and called first responders to investigate,” said Solid Waste Superintendent Jim Penson. “Firefighters responded and conducted thorough testing in the building. Once it was deemed to be safe and clear of any noxious fumes, the site was re-opened.”
An investigation determined that an improperly disposed can of bear spray had been punctured in the process of the waste being transferred from the floor to the truck, releasing its contents.
“In this case, we were lucky that our staff were not seriously hurt; however, it speaks to the importance of residents ensuring they are properly disposing of their waste 100% of the time,” said Penson.
Bear spray canisters can be taken to Bavarian Home Hardware in Kimberley and to the Regional Household Hazardous Waste Depot at the Cranbrook Transfer Station for safe disposal.
“If people are unsure about how to safely dispose of items, we urge them to contact us. We also have an interactive page on engage.rdek.bc.ca/recycle with resources and information. But, it starts with personal responsibility. If you are in doubt or unsure about how to safely dispose of something, throwing it in the garbage is not the right answer and could put people’s safety at risk,” adds Penson.
The Transfer Station was closed for approximately one hour until regular operations were able to resume.
“We would like to thank our staff for acting quickly and for following the safety procedures to protect themselves and the public, and the first responders for their assistance in ensuring the site’s safety,” adds Penson.