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Fighting the Delta Landfill Fire.

In November, 1999 SHA was called to a construction/demolition landfill that was owned and operated by Delta Shake and Shingle (DSS) Ltd. Landfill staff had attempted to manage a fire in the landfill that eventually grew out of control thereby requiring assistance from the Delta Fire Department. The fire was contained in the most recently filled portion of the site, a horseshoe shaped cell located on the north side of the landfill. The landfill itself had been constructed on soft peat soils. Three sensitive utilities run adjacent to the site including a high capacity BC Gas pipeline to the south, and a GVRD forcemain sewer and water supply line to the north. There was a significant risk that these utilities could be damaged from slope failures if the fire was not controlled or extinguished in a geotechnically sound manner.

The situation took a dramatic turn when the Owner failed to respond to an order issued by the Fire Commissioner, which forced Delta to declare a state of local emergency and assume control of the situation. An emergency command post was established on November 27th, 1999 under the supervision of the Delta Fire Chief (Mr. Randy Wolsey).

The extinguishment involved constructing two PVC lined pads to extinguish and store hot material. The pads consisted of a PVC membrane sandwiched between two layers of sand for protection. All run-off from the pads was contained, collected and treated as leachate. Extensive geotechnical monitoring was performed (by Horizon Engineering) throughout the process to ensure that fire fighting activities did not induce movement in the underlying soils and threaten neighbouring utilities. As the material from the fire zone cell was removed, the side walls were cut back to a 3H:1V slope and capped with clay to prevent the fire from re-establishing itself outside the cell.

The fire was extinguished by January 19th, 2000 after 125,000 m3 of waste had been excavated. The total cost of the effort was in the order of $2.2 million. Restoration activities are currently underway to re-introduce the waste back into the landfill using proper filling techniques cost an additional $2.0 milion.

In the Fall of 2001, the consulting engineers awarded SHA and our subconsultants Horizon Engineering and Knight Piesold consultants an award of excellence for completing this challenging project.

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