It’s a potentially dangerous product that will be handled in a safe way.
For that reason Columbia-Shuswap Regional District directors have voted unanimously to approve the containment of specified risk management material at the Salmon Arm landfill.
Waste management co-ordinator Ben Van Nostrand said based on upgrades in 2010, the landfill has been approved to accept the 10 per cent of slaughter waste that could contain bovine spongiform encephalopathy or “mad cow disease,” if the cow was infected.
Van Nostrand said SRM will be dealt with in the same manner as asbestos, with the material being double-bagged and buried deep immediately upon arrival at the landfill.
CSRD obtained the best liners available on the market – built to last at least 50 to 100 years, he said. As well, the site will be monitored three times a year.
Van Nostrand says accepting SRM at the Salmon Arm landfill – about 8,000 tons annually – would provide economic benefit to a local abattoir that currently ships SRM material to Calgary.
“It has been identified by government agencies and Riverside Meats in Silver Creek that a local disposal option would lower the disposal costs and help maintain the viability of this local industry,” wrote Van Nostrand in a memo to the board.
He assured directors that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency had assessed the landfill using specific criteria and the Ministry of Environment is supportive of the initiative.
He explained that through preventive measures introduced by CFIA, BSE disease has been virtually eradicated in Canada.
“From 2009 to 2011, 99,721 cows have been tested and three have tested positive,” he wrote, noting BSE has an affinity to bind to soil particles and does not readily leach.
“The risk of human or livestock infection with the BSE agent from SRM landfilled at the Salmon Arm landfill is extremely low.”
Van Nostrand assured directors that under the CSRD bylaw only SRM material from within the regional district would be accepted at the Salmon Arm landfill, addressing one of several concerns directors had initially.
“The disease makes me queasy, but after reading the report, I am confident measures have been taken,” said director Larry Morgan. “I will support this.”
Satisfied with Van Nostrand’s report and replies to their questions, the board voted unanimously to approve the receipt of SRM at the local landfill.