Metro Vancouver Drywall Collection Sites Closed Due to Safety Concerns 

Lien Yeung - CBC News, December 2, 2015

Drywall collection

Metro Vancouver has shut down six of its drywall collection sites until it can figure out how to protect workers from asbestos, causing a significant backlog for contractors in the region's busy construction sector.

The six sites only get about 10 per cent of the drywall that's disposed — usually by homeowners or residential contractors. What's collected there goes to New West Gypsum Recycling in New Westmister, B.C.

A few weeks ago, WorkSafeBC shut down the plant in New Westminster because of safety concerns. Before it could reopen, it had to implement some new procedures.

"This particular facility had some issues where they needed to strengthen their program," said Al Johnson, WorkSafeBC's vice-president of prevention services.

"They've done that ... and we're assured that [the work] is being done safely."

Now everyone who brings drywall to the New Westminster company has to guarantee their load is free of asbestos. They need paperwork that shows the drywall has been sent to a lab and tested — a complicated procedure for the six Metro Vancouver sites that send their drywall there.

"It's only a small portion of the wallboard that could potentially contain asbestos," said Paul Henderson with Metro Vancouver. "So it's challenging for us to guarantee all of those small users of those facilities don't have any asbestos in that drywall."

No timeline on reopening

Henderson said Metro Vancouver will try to figure out a plan, but it doesn't yet have a timeline for reopening.

Until it does, Metro Vancouver recommends people take their old drywall straight to the New Westminster facility, or to another site in Aldergrove.

But between the new detailed paperwork requirements and the shutdown of the six Metro Vancouver sites, some contractors said they had waited for close to two hours to drop off their loads there on Wednesday.

WorksafeBC said it just wants to prevent workers from getting exposed to asbestos, and the backlog was unintended. It plans on bringing together municipalities and contractors to try and resolve the issue.

You can see the original article here.