Smoke from the controlled Ridley Island burn June 22-27, 2017. (Fred Oddson photo)

Smoke from the controlled Ridley Island burn June 22-27, 2017. (Fred Oddson photo)

Port charged with burying burnt remains of treated wood

Burning the old dock on Ridley Island for five days in 2017 has led to four environmental charges

The B.C. Ministry of Environment has laid four charges against the Prince Rupert Port Authority for burning treated wood for five days on Ridley Island in June 2017.

While the charges were sworn in on July 4, the pre-trial conference is set to take place at the Prince Rupert courthouse on Dec. 19.

The complaint was made to the Terrace Conservation Office on June 26, 2017 after residents in Port Edward raised concerns about black smoke drifting over their community. Officer Tracy Walbauer said the investigation lasted until Aug. 1 after which Crown counsel reviewed the evidence, deciding whether or not to lay charges.

The maximum fine for the first two charges under the Environmental Management Act could be up to $1-million each. The first charge states the port authority “unlawfully introduced” waste or air contaminates by burning prohibited materials for five days, between June 22-27.

The second charge states that between June 26-27 the port authority unlawfully “introduced waste into the environment by burying the burnt remains of the ‘Odin’ dock and other burnt waste that was produced by a prescribed activity.”

The 80-year-old dock being burned may have been exposed to creosote, a toxic chemical used to prevent wood from rotting.

“Creosote is kind of like asbestos, it was a good idea at the time but very difficult to dispose of safely. More environmental regulations have come in to take into account that you can’t just dispose of it, you can’t bury it, you can’t burn it, there isn’t a good option for dealing with it either,” said Annie Booth, curriculum chair of environmental and sustainability studies at the University of Northern B.C.

Booth said it’s fairly expensive to dispose of the hazardous waste. According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, it’s toxic to breathe in and long exposures can cause respiratory irritation. If creosote is buried it can leach into the soil.

“Any place you have soil and it rains, creosote will go into the soil and it will probably reach the water table,” Booth said.

The other two charges relate to violations of B.C.’s open burning smoke control regulations. One, treated lumber — a prohibited material — was burned, and two, the smoke release period exceeded 72-consecutive hours.

The Prince Rupert Port Authority apologized in July 2017 for how it handled the Ridley fire. In response to the charges the port authority stated: “The burn included material which was erroneously classified as organic. PRPA has acknowledged and apologized publicly to the community for its error. Following the identification of the error, PRPA has worked with the BC Ministry of Environment to conduct an investigation. The Ministry has elected to pursue charges related to this incident.”

The port authority, DP World and partners involved in the Fairview Terminal expansion project are also facing 10 fisheries violations for work carried out between 2014-2015 that caused serious harm to fish.

RELATED: Prince Rupert port and DP World faces 10 fisheries violations



shannon.lough@thenorthernview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Port of Prince RupertRidley Island

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Paving and sidewalk cost replacements being scheduled for 2021 are doubled that of 2019 but remain status quo for 2020 according to Prince Rupert chief financial officer, Corrine Bomben at a regular council meeting on Nov. 23. (Photo: K-J Millar/ The Northern View?
City begins to plan acquisition and construction for capital projects for 2021

Prince Rupert water, sewer, solid waste and paving are being scheduled for 2021

An aerial shot of Cedar Valley Lodge this past August, LNG Canada’s newest accommodation for workers. This is where several employees are isolating after a COVID-19 outbreak was declared last Thursday (Nov. 19). (Photo courtesy of LNG Canada)
41 positive COVID-19 cases associated with the LNG Canada site outbreak

Thirty-four of the 41 cases remain active, according to Northern Health

Kitimat RCMP were requesting assistance locating 24-year-old Teah Wilken, who was last seen getting on a bus at City Centre Mall in Kitimat around 6:30 p.m. Monday (Nov. 23). Kitimat RCMP Facebook photo.
UPDATE: missing woman found safe at residence

Wilken last seen getting on bus at City Centre Mall in Kitimat around 6:30 p.m. Monday (Nov. 23)

Maria Lewis president of the Prince Rupert Royal Canadian Legion accepts a $5,000 donation gifted via an artillery shell from Shawn MacDonald governor of the Prince Rupert Loyal Order of the Moose 1051 on Nov. 13.
Major donation overwhelms Prince Rupert Legion

Prince Rupert Moose Lodge 1051 donates $5,000 to local veterans organization

People wearing face masks to help curb the spread of COVID-19 cross a street in downtown Vancouver, on Sunday, November 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. reports 17 COVID deaths, 1,933 new cases as hospitalizations surge over the weekend

There are 277 people in hospital, of whom 59 are in ICU or critical care

BC Teachers' Federation President Teri Mooring is asking parents of school-aged children to encourage the wearing of masks when possible in schools. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito)
LETTER: Teachers union encourages culture of mask wearing in B.C. schools

BCTF President Teri Mooring asks parents to talk with children about wearing masks in school

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speak to the media about the COVID-19 virus outside Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s inability to manufacture vaccines in-house will delay distribution: Trudeau

First doses of COVID-19 vaccine expected in first few months of 2021, prime minister says

Pamela Wright, a UNBC professor in the department of ecosystem science and management, is presented with the Mitacs Award for Exceptional Leadership - Professor, at a virtual ceremony today (Nov. 24) in recognition of her collaborative work with community partners and students to conserve Canada’s northern lands. (Photo submitted by Mitacs)
UNBC professor recieves prestigeous conservation award

Pamela Wright recognized for leadership in ‘breakthrough’ work on northern issues

Pamela Wright, a UNBC professor in the department of ecosystem science and management, is presented with the Mitacs Award for Exceptional Leadership - Professor, at a virtual ceremony today (Nov. 24) in recognition of her collaborative work with community partners and students to conserve Canada’s northern lands. (Photo submitted by Mitacs)
UNBC professor recieves prestigeous conservation award

Pamela Wright recognized for leadership in ‘breakthrough’ work on northern issues

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

(Pixabay)
All dance studios, other indoor group fitness facilities must close amid updated COVID-19 rules

Prior announcement had said everything except spin, HIIT and hot yoga could remain open

B.C. Liberal interim leader Shirley Bond speaks to reporters from Prince George via Zoom conference, Nov. 24, 2020. MLAs are being sworn in for the legislature session this week, many of them also by video. (B.C. legislature)
B.C. Liberal leadership contest will wait for election post-mortem

Interim leader set to face NDP on payments for COVID-19

Product Care offers more than <a href="http://link.mediaoutreach.meltwater.com/ls/click?upn=pDYyTceU0YgTDdsd92GohdQJsmSiPFEkcB4MdMM0Qkoqb1aJA-2By5aWklKJXV6QRdyTteNjr2FccUOVLUe4t5Zw-3D-3D1ds-_KVyBcpjXADXifSWVpM8nQcAzSm9-2B6fEFnjVrTsOcu31irDHDxi5k0QTOIWCqMXUxaNbrf0yRzXSSpROCkfx3NkUtbr65Dkcw1J0by-2F-2BDdDiJGbcfhtjHWYSs66NwakeCCLYkj20e9ICIZsLcedqNZKBhsN0sGgBsInpdzsddYikUZkmQvFdxLJhakpgAA6aAJ5ScUoWR6vO9sM819vRB-2F6x7dsdfIaWa4ZgHxR4G7hauxgSJCsNI2bP5J62EFfM0aiDqRPwUPUjt7i5-2FMqpdJxrEBewnLky-2B3lE0JAmi5UsJBkJejuLOjsndZz4b7dNgbvt6KyewKuF0sxU2rpYgkAO9YAKc9STuFJd28Qn7jE0-2FqlB8HKOvpW150NHS-2BOMBcK5rkZ8YAuPqJy11k-2BgndiKB-2FWl2icAfbWtRGJPb8fM-3D" target="_blank">150 free drop-off locations</a> in B.C. (Pixabay.com)
Recycling broken or burnt string lights can reduce holiday landfill waste

In 2019, Product Care Recycling diverted more than 11.6 million light bulbs from landfills

Most Read