Last week was a bit stressful for the staff at the Drumheller Landfill as they dealt with a large-scale fire on the tipping face. The event also served as a great reminder for the general public to be careful of what they throw away.
On Monday evening, plumes of white smoke could be seen billowing out from the landfill, and fire crews from the area rushed to the scene.
The crews stayed until about 7:30 pm that night extinguishing the fire, only to have it resurface again in the early morning hours of the next day.
"Unfortunately with fires and landfills, they are very, very serious. The fire can get underneath if there is any voids or air pockets. In some instances, in other provinces, they have burned for years, and then you have to chase them. It gets very, very expensive," explained Manager of the Drumheller Landfill, Tammy Nygaard.
Thankfully, the fire has since been extinguished at the landfill and operations are back to normal, but the fire is still a vivid memory in everyone's mind.
"What we would really like to do is remind the public to be very careful of what they place in their waste. There are many different causes of landfill fires. They can be a hot burn barrel from a farmer. They could be someone being negligent and throwing a lit cigarette into the pile, it can also be spontaneous combustion. There are many, many reasons for landfill fires," continued Nygaard.
She urges the public to go online to the Alberta Government's list of household hazardous waste here to find out more about hazardous household waste such as nail polish.
"We also do collect household hazardous goods on a year-round basis. We do not charge the public to dispose of these materials. So, we are asking to bring in their abrasive cleaners, bleach, brake and transmission fluids, drain cleaners, fabric softeners, laundry detergent, hair coloring and used oils. The list is quite extensive," concluded Nygaard.
Nygaard also goes on to say that they are investigating both commercial and residential loads for the cause of the fire, but they may never truly know what started it.