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Small explosion prompts landfill safety warning

No one was injured after a small explosion at Red Deer’s Waste Management Facility on Saturday.

But Janet Whitesell, the city’s Waste Management superintendent, said the situation could have been much worse.

Early Saturday morning, a worker was moving scrap metal in a pile when a high-pressure canister burst open, ejecting a parachute used for small airplanes or glider, said Whitesell.

“It was early in the morning so as I understand it he was the only person over there,” she said. “Certainly it could have been different if the parachute had discharged in another direction or someone else had been in the area.”

The city is using the incident as a reminder to residents to be mindful of what they send to the landfill.

“While we’re thankful that no one was injured, we just want to prevent something like this from happening again by reminding residents that hazardous waste can be dangerous if it’s not disposed of properly,” said Whitesell. “Waste screening is a key component of what we do at the site … If the (person who dropped off the canister) thought it might be dangerous, he could have asked us and we would have gone through the process and store it some where it wasn’t going to be jostled and looked into it and figured out the safe way to dispose it.”

The facility offers free, year-round drop-off for household hazardous waste including items such as aerosol and single use propane gas containers, cleaners, batteries, nail polish, bleach, paints and paint thinners, as well as any products with flammable, corrosive, explosive and toxic warning labels.

The only hazardous items that cannot be dropped off at the Waste Management Facility include motor oil, commercial or industrial hazardous waste and prescription and non-prescription drugs which can be returned to your local pharmacy for proper disposal.

“In this situation, we understand that it was a really unique item, so if you’re unsure where an item should be dropped off, feel free to give us a call or ask one of the staff at the landfill to make sure it ends up in the right place,” said Whitesell.

Environmental Services can be contacted at 403-342-8750 or at



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