As construction of the Trans Mountain pipeline continues, numerous residents in and around Clearwater have reached out to the Times with concerns about what the oil and gas company has been disposing of at the Thompson-Nicola Regional District Eco Depot.
One resident said they saw a substantial amount of landscape fabric rolled up and discarded, along with sheets of plywood and two-by-fours, “all in perfect or near perfect condition.” Another noted large, almost new pieces of two-by-six boards were “coming in by the truck load and being chipped.”
Both suggested the like-new materials be offered to people in the area for use before being discarded.
The Times reached out to Trans Mountain about the concerns brought up by residents, who said materials are classified as waste once they have been used for construction. Some non-hazardous materials, such as skids, geotextiles or survey stakes, are stockpiled for disposal along the right-of-way, and are taken to the eco depot as needed.
Unfortunately, materials cannot be offered to the public before disposal due to liability concerns, said a Trans Mountain media spokesperson. Within the company’s environmental protection plan, a clause states, “Collect all construction waste materials on a regular basis and dispose of at a company-approved waste disposal facility and in accordance with the Waste Management Plan and the Spill Contingency Plan. Ensure that wastes are recycled, reused or recovered, where practical.”
The eco depot in Clearwater is an approved wood waste facility and is utilized by Trans Mountain, according to a media spokesperson, and they are required by the Canada Energy Regulator to dispose of waste at an approved facility.
“Trans Mountain is committed to performing its activities in an environmentally responsible manner, including the recycling of waste materials, to the extent feasible,” a statement from the company reads. “Trans Mountain identifies guidelines for contractors to reduce the volume of solid waste delivered to existing landfills and other waste management facilities.
“Personnel are to use materials efficiently and effectively to minimize waste generation, and recycling wherever possible.”
The company also noted the expansion project tries to give back to the community where they can, such as providing firewood to seniors in the TNRD in November of last year that was delivered by local high school students.
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