10/30/2012 08:34 EDT | Updated 12/30/2012 05:12 EST

Cache Creek Toxic Ash Dump: BC Government Launches Investigation

In this June 20, 2012 photo, a heavy Caterpillar earth mover buries waste at the Clinton Landfill near Clinton, Ill. If the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency signs off on the idea, a designated part of the Clinton Landfill will become the permanent storage site for heavy concentrations of PCBs from throughout the Great Lakes region, toxic remnants of the Midwest's manufacturing glory days. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman)
VICTORIA - The B.C. government has launched an investigation into the decision to ship potentially toxic fly ash from an incinerator in Burnaby to a landfill in Cache Creek.

About 1,800 tonnes of the ash was set to the landfill in July and August, and fears have been raised that the material may be a danger to human health because the ash contains the metallic element cadmium.

Environment Minister Terry Lake says right now there's nothing to indicate that the ash that was dumped poses any risk, but he's ordered his ministry to investigate whether the companies involved complied with the regulations.

The environmental protection division will work with Covanta Renewable Energy, which operates the incinerator for Metro Vancouver, and Wastech, which runs the Cache Creek landfill, to figure out what happened.

The landfill is not authorized to handle hazardous waste, and ash produced by the Burnaby incinerator is supposed to go to a hazardous waste facility in Alberta.

Metro Vancouver says recent samples tested from the Cache Creek landfill are below the threshold for leachable cadmium. (The Canadian Press/CHNL)

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