By Lyonel Doherty
The regional district is asking residents to avoid going to their local landfill in the midst of COVID-19.
An increase in home and yard cleaning has resulted in safety issues at rural landfills, according to district staff.
For example, last weekend saw a large spike in the number of people visiting landfills, said board chair Karla Kozakevich.
“Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, residents are asked to use curbside collection until further notice. If you are self-isolating or displaying symptoms of COVID-19, stay home,” she said.
Kozakevich noted that Campbell Mountain Landfill has been especially busy.
“Lineups on busy days are stretching outside the landfill and blocking traffic. This affects landfill users and residents who live near the landfill.”
Cameron Baughen, solid waste management coordinator, said some people are creating major safety issues at area landfills, including Oliver’s.
He noted that some have just returned from holidays (from Mexico or wherever) and are going to the landfill when they are required to self-isolate for 14 days.
Others are making the trip to the landfill with a couple of bags of garbage because they are bored and want something to do, he pointed out.
But this behaviour is exposing landfill contractors to potential risk, which is not appropriate, Baughen said
“The risk it too high . . . we’re trying to protect our workers.”
Therefore, people are being asked to stockpile their recycling and use their curbside collection program as much as possible.
Kozakevich said staff understand that many people are returning from their winter homes or sitting at home in isolation.
“But an unnecessary visit to the landfill can place staff and others at risk. Please listen to health professionals and follow self-isolation and physical distancing procedures.”
Baughen said if this behaviour continues, the regional district will consider restricting services to residents. This could include closing landfills to non-commercial customers.
For now, all RDOS landfills are open during regular hours. Customers are asked to bring a credit or debit card for payment. Cash will not be accepted.