At a distance it may have looked like a sort of drive-thru community barbecue what with the tents and people standing around in the sun passing items across a table May 24 at the former Terrace Co-op location on Greig Ave., but in reality it was a toxic drop off.
Called almost “too successful” by organizers because of the overwhelming load of toxic material dropped off, the Too Toxic to Trash event amassed the waste of 357 households.
“It was incredible the amount of material that came in. And I think, it was very very successful, hopefully not too successful because we might come in over budget,” said city planner Tara Irwin of the event sponsored by the city, the Kitimat-Stikine regional district and local businesses.
Compared to neighbouring communities, the Terrace event went very well, as a similar drop off in Kitimat had 114 participants while Hazelton managed 32.
“Oh man, we had people drop off pesticides, PCBs, stuff containing mercury… really toxic resins and hardeners and drums and drums of used oil,” said Irwin. “Stuff that if you touched it, your skin would burn.”
Those dropping off material stayed in their vehicles while workers at the event unloaded material from vehicle trunks and the back of pick up trucks.
Irwin said some people dropped off items left in sheds on properties they had recently purchased so had no idea what it was while others were cleaning out residences from relatives who passed away.
A team of chemists from a national company called Terrapure Environmental was on hand to test, quarantine, and ship the material to their facilities.
Also on hand was Product Care which accepts paint at its local depot.
People may not have known that this local depot accepts paint, as many brought their paint to the drop-off, said Irwin.
“A good majority of the material that was brought in was funneled through Product Care who worked on site that day… I believe we filled up a whole Bandstra Trailer, with the skids of paint, thousands and thousands and thousands of cans.”
Terrace firefighters dropped by and were pretty pleased with the event because it removed material that could be hazardous in case it was in a building or shed that was on fire, Irwin added.