The Burning of Demolition Materials

Year: 2014


Whereas the cost of hauling demolition material to a landfill can be prohibitive for those persons living in municipalities that only have transfer stations; and Whereas some municipalities have deteriorating older buildings that should be demolished, but instead property owners are walking away from them due to the cost of hauling demolition materials thereby leaving municipalities with this extra burden; and Whereas it is uncertain whether the emissions caused by hauling the demolition material great distances to the designated landfill site are less than the emissions caused by burning the demolition material at our local transfer station; and Whereas some of these existing older buildings are being inhabited by persons when it is unsafe to do so because property owners are not demolishing them due to the cost; and Whereas municipalities are being affected both financially and aesthetically by the prohibitive cost of hauling demolition materials to a landfill; Therefore be it resolved that the SUMA lobby the provincial government to allow the burning of demolition materials from deteriorating older buildings at transfer stations and landfills.

Provincial Response

The practice of burning is currently prohibited without approval under The Municipal Refuse Management Regulations and the burning of any waste that may cause air pollution is prohibited under The Clean Air Regulations. Burning of mixed waste, including demolition material, contributes to greenhouse gas emissions and is proven to release a wide range of toxins into the environment that pose a threat to both public health and the environment. Some of the toxins released, such as dioxins and furans, are cancer-causing agents. Opportunities may exist to separate building materials so that recyclables and clean wood can remain and be managed appropriately at the transfer station. These efforts would minimize the amount of material needing to be transported for disposal at a landfill. Some municipalities have become quite successful in separating out their waste building materials for reuse and recycling opportunities. The ministry issues approvals to burn clean, non-treated or non-painted wood waste at landfills and transfer stations; however, we do not issue approval to burn demolition waste or general mixed wastes due to the potential for environmental contamination and human health risks associated with this practice.

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