In 2013 and 2014, Ecology North partnered with Sahtu communities to tackle the challenge of hazardous waste that has accumulated in municipal solid waste disposal sites over decades. Much of this waste comes from non-municipal sources such as industry and government.
Together with municipalities and with support from the GNWT departments of ENR and MACA, we were able to develop itemized inventories of hazardous waste in the solid waste facilities in the communities of Norman Wells, Tulita, Colville Lake and Fort Good Hope. A lot of the waste was tidied up, labeled and repacked so that much of it is now ready for transport out of the communities and disposal at appropriate facilities that are able to handle these kinds of waste.
The project also helped to draw attention to the challenge, and we are hopeful that federal, territorial and municipal jurisdictions will be able to work together to dispose of the waste in the future.
It’s an expensive undertaking. The estimated costs for disposal exceed one million dollars for the Sahtu region alone, so it will require everyone to work together.