Second fire at Bio-Can this year
The Green For Life/Bio-Can site was the site of a second fire this year on October 15.
The second fire this year broke out at the Green For Life/Bio-Can site located northeast of the town of Strathmore. A preliminary investigation has found that the fire that occurred on the morning of October 15 was caused by an overheated piece of machinery, according to local authorities.
The fire took place at approximately 10 a.m. on October 15.
“On arrival of the Wheatland West Fire Department and with the assistance of the Town of Strathmore Fire Department the machinery fire was extinguished within 25 minutes of their arrival,” said Mac de Beaudrap CFO/Wheatland County Regional Deputy Fire Chief.
The fire is believed to have originated in a mobile conveyor/screener.
“The preliminary investigation determined that the most probable cause of the fire was the overheating of a part in the machine which resulted in a smouldering fire in the dust comprised of dusty soil and compostable materials,” de Beaudrap explained in a news release.
“The smouldering fire most likely grew as a result of the winds, which drove the fire up through the conveyor resulting in the destruction of the machine,” he said.
According to Neighbours against Pollution 2017, a community action group, they received a letter from Minister of Environment Shannon Phillips saying that Alberta Environment told GLF to have the drywall and sulphur removed. It was expected that would be complete by the end of August. There have been concerns raised by members of the group that drywall that is crushed at the site may contain asbestos.
Independent laboratory testing by Western Ste Technologies Inc (WSTI) showed one sample out of nine contained asbestos. The results were received by the group on October 13.
Asbestos generally has resistance to high temperature. The health hazard related to asbestos is seen during the taking down, or exposure to air. In 2014, the World Health Organization determined that 107,000 people die each year from asbestos-related lung cancer, mesothelioma, and asbestosis resulting from occupational exposure.
A report issued in the summer of 2017 by Alberta Environment also noted that Bio-Can/ GFL has stockpiled 95 times more than the allowed amount of sulphur on its site.