Clean Start: Hazardous Waste Stockpiles in the Sahtu

Clean Start: Hazardous Waste Stockpiles in the Sahtu

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.

 

Following the successful conclusion of the Clean Start program in the Sahtu, Ecology North began working with the MACA School of Community Government and the GNWT Dept of Environment and Natural Resources to develop an instructional film intended to help NWT communities to better manage their hazardous waste.
Hazardous waste superstar Gerald Enns, along with Christine Wenman and Jeremy Flatt from Ecology North developed a script covering the basics of dealing with a disorganized stockpile of hazardous waste and developing a community hazardous waste management plan. At just shy of forty minutes, this instructional epic leaves no stone un-turned and features interviews with municipal staff in Wekweti reflecting on their experience of removing hazardous waste from the community as well as a comprehensive demonstration by Gerald Enns of the proper process for opening un-labelled drums and identifying the contents.
You can watch the video here. Copies of the video are available from the GNWT Department of Municipal and Community Affairs.