EXTINGUISHING THE DELTA SHAKE AND SHINGLE LANDFILL FIRE
By Dr. Tony Sperling, P.Eng.
Sperling Hansen Associates
early November 1999, a 250,000 m(3) cell of the Delta Hake and
Landfill erupted into flames. The initial Extinguishment efforts
by the landfill owner accelerated combustion of the construction
demolition waste. Within week, smoke from the fire cast a thick
haze over the Vancouver skyline, streams in the area were threatened
by leachate from the firefight and workers on adjacent properties
were being affected by smoke and odors. On November 27th, the
Mayor of Delta declared a State of Local Emergency and The British
Columbia Fire Commissioner ordered the Delta Fire Department to
take control and extinguish the blaze.
Complicating the firefight
at the landfill was the presence of a high pressure natural gas
main that provides heating fuel for nearly one half million customers
in Vancouver, as well as a large volume sewer force-main, a water
supply main, a high voltage transmission line and a railway line.
All of these utilities were located immediately adjacent to the
landfill in unstable peat and were potentially threatened should
a slope failure or excessive settlement have occurred during extinguishment
strategy involved closing up the 200 x 200 m burn zone, rapid
construction of PVC lined cool down areas on expropriated property,
excavation and wetting down of the burning material and, ultimately,
replacement of the extinguished material back in the landfill.
and monitoring of the lay down areas on top of and adjacent to
the landfill were key aspects of the project, as the gas pipeline
company had zero tolerance for stress induced displacements.
The fire was fully
extinguished over a period of two months at a cost exceeding 2
million. The extinguished material is currently being placed back
in the landfill in a fireproof manner and properties expropriated
during the firefight are being restored to their owners.