A lack of consideration by locals is leading to hours of labour for the Invermere Fire Department.
Fire Chief Roger Ekman says the amount of unacceptable products dumped at the paint drop-off pallet is staggering.
“It’s absolutely crazy,” says Mr. Ekman. “It’s a continuous problem.”
Propane tanks, old fire extinguishers and certain types of paint are among the problem items found on a weekly basis at the site, located outside the Invermere Fire Hall.
Mr. Ekman and firefighter Colin Matheson spend a good five to six hours a week sorting through the products. Mr. Matheson says in spite of the signage, people drop anything and everything at the hall.
“Sometimes it can be contractors dumping off stuff from their job site, whether it be expanding foam, or asphalt products. People are also dropping off things like propane tanks – that should be going to the Windermere landfill, or they’re bringing stuff like used motor oil or antifreeze,” says Mr. Matheson. “We have to then spend some of our own time either taking it to the landfill ourselves, which already makes a small job bigger, or we have to just throw it in the dumpster.”
There have been instances of hazardous waste materials deposited, which means it costs the District to dispose of them, Mr. Ekman reports.
Accepted products include latex paints, alkyd paints, paint spray cans, smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. Items not accepted at the fire hall include propane tanks, electronics, oil, pesticides, adhesives, anti-freeze and automotive paint. Propane tanks can be taken to the Windermere landfill. Electronics go to the Invermere Bottle Depot and oil can be recycled at Canadian Tire. For more information on proper recycling, call the Recycling Council of B.C. at 1-800-667-4321.
Mr. Ekman says it is a possibility for the fire department to stop offering this service to the community if the improper dumping continues.