A battle has erupted between the village of Cache Creek, B.C., and a company that ships incinerated waste to the community's landfill — waste that might have been contaminated. 

The fight involves about 2,000 tonnes of fly ash sent from the Lower Mainland in July and August.

Tests indicate the ash — which is collected during the burning of solid waste — is hazardous and the village Mayor John Ranta wants it gone. But the company that transports it, Covanta Energy, says that will take time.

Covanta has been incinerating the Lower Mainland's waste and shipping it to Cache Creek for more than a decade  and the company had never been late delivering environmental tests on the fly ash, and had never failed one either — until July.

Tests for the fly ash delivered in July and August didn’t arrive until September and showed leachable cadmium up to twice the allowed provincial limit.

Covanta spokesman Chris Baker apologizes for the delay, but said the tests might be wrong and new tests are needed.

"We firmly believe at this point that those tests are an aberration," Baker said.

But Ranta is not impressed with the company’s position, and says it puts into question all the fly ash that’s been dumped at Cache Creek by the Covanta over the past ten years.

"Should we be suggesting to them that they excavate the entire 25,000 tonnes of fly ash that's been deposited at Cache Creek?"

Until the matter is resolved, all new fly ash from Vancouver waste incineration is being sent to Alberta.

Corrections

  • This story was originally accompanied by a video report that was misleading. The images in the story were not fly ash but were archived images of regular garbage being loaded and transported.
    Dec 03, 2012 4:00 AM PT
With files from the CBC's Emily Elias