There is a saying – When you throw things away, where is away?
Landfills do not usually get much attention. The recent fire at the Flin Flon landfill resulted in more attention than it has received since the City decided to charge tipping fees in 2012.
The fire reminded me of several things.
First, the way the landfill is organized prevented very serious environmental problems.
The fire was in the general or household garbage area. The tires, propane tanks, used motor oil and hazardous waste which would have caused serious issues are located a good distance away.
Burning tires are nasty creating toxic smoke and liquids. The storage area for the tires is organized to prevent this. The tires are placed in rows with space between. This means if a fire gets into the tires, it does not have very much fuel in one spot and is easier to put out than a pile of tires.
Propane tanks often have a little bit of gas in them and can explode. Bits of metal flying through the air can injure fire fighters.
The propane tanks are stored by the metal pile and will be removed this summer.
Secondly, everyone needs to do a better job of sorting their waste.
Many people reported hearing explosions a considerable distance from the fire. This was probably caused by aerosol cans and small green disposable propane cylinders that were thrown in with other household garbage.
These items should be separated out of regular garbage and left at the hazardous waste depot which will send away for safe disposal.
The City has done a lot of work to organize the landfill. Residents need to do their part.