Given the increasing volume of ‘do-it-yourself’ home renovation waste across the region, the Capital Regional District (CRD) is launching a new awareness campaign today to educate homeowners about the health risks associated with asbestos and promote the safe removal and disposal of renovation waste.
“Exposure to asbestos and other hazards pose a real risk to families across the region who choose to take on home renovations themselves,” says CRD Director Judy Brownoff, chair of the region’s Environmental Services Committee. “In an effort to protect these residents as well as our staff and visitors at Hartland Landfill, we’re asking homeowners to hire qualified professionals to test for asbestos and remove it safely.”
Prior to 1990, asbestos—a mineral fibre resistant to fire, heat and electricity—was used in thousands of building products, including vinyl flooring, plaster, ceiling tiles and stucco. There is little risk when it’s left in place, but disturbing asbestos during a demolition or renovation can lead to the inhalation of its fibres, a known cause of lung scarring and cancer.
“As a colourless, odourless substance, asbestos is hard to detect, so it’s vital that homeowners identify the presence of asbestos and other hazardous materials in their home before they start any demolition work,” says Brownoff. “At the same time, it’s important that do-it-yourself renovators learn how to properly dispose of this waste to avoid being turned away at either Hartland Landfill or private facilities.”
Hartland accepts properly packaged asbestos for disposal by appointment only. As of March 31, all renovation waste must be pre-approved for disposal. To get pre-approved, residents must complete an online application via www.crd.bc.ca/renowaste and provide asbestos-free test results. This process mirrors the existing commercial procedure that complies with WorkSafeBC regulations.
Protecting the safety of residents—including within CRD-operated facilities—is the priority of this campaign. As Hartland Landfill also accepts asbestos waste from outside the region, the CRD will make these new educational materials available to municipalities across the island.
Step-by-step guides, checklists and a list of qualified HAZMAT professionals are available at www.crd.bc.ca/renowaste. CRD staff will also be handing out detailed ‘reno safe + waste wise’ information at home improvement stores across the region in the coming weeks.