With the seasonal change, Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows residents might take it upon themselves to do some spring cleaning.
Getting rid of unwanted items is not an issue, but it is important they are disposed of properly.
This Wednesday afternoon, a Metro Vancouver Parks employee was wearing some chest waders and raking up heaps of floating garbage on the outskirts of Blaney Bog alongside 224 Street.
There were cushions, household waste, discarded house plants, paperwork, and even a photograph of a baby polluting the waters.
The ecologically sensitive wetlands is no place for garbage, but Doug Petersen, a regional parks manager for Metro Vancouver said they fit the bill for places usually targeted.
“Any time you have a remote location where you have a road that’s not very well travelled, and people can do things discreetly, you get these kind of dumps,” he said.
Petersen said the parks employees see everything from household garbage to construction waste being dumped.
Regionally, illegal dumping costs Metro Vancouver municipalities almost $6 million per year.
“One of the biggest challenges is the dry wall, because of the costs for disposal of dry wall,” he said. “When you have dry wall, you potentially have hazmat concerns related to asbestos.
“You have to treat it as a high risk site so you have to cover it over, block it off , and get a hazmat team in, which is a huge cost.
The City of Pitt Meadows recently posted about such an incident on their Twitter page, noting illegal dumping costs the municipality more than $30,000 each year.
Unfortunately, the City had to pay to clean up this mess left on the road. Illegal dumping costs the City over $30,000 each year and is a serious health, safety, and environmental hazard. Let’s keep our city clean, safe and natural. Learn more: https://t.co/bktWkLOjRq. pic.twitter.com/27iAi39rNy— citypittmeadows (@citypittmeadows) April 28, 2021
Manager of communications for the city, Carolyn Baldridge said it is currently running an awareness campaign to help provide education on the proper ways to dispose of construction waste.
“This particular illegal dump was a large one that occurred on December 22, 2020 on Ford Road,” she said.
“There were two additional piles of drywall in the nearby area totalling 7,150 kg of drywall waste.”
The city had to pay $9,943.50 to have the hazardous material safely removed and disposed of due to potential asbestos.
“Bylaw enforcement follows up on any identifying information when it is available,” she noted.
“Unfortunately items like this are typically dumped late at night. City crews will identify frequent dump locations and set up deterrents to prevent further dumping.”
Pitt Meadows wants to educate residents on how to dispose of materials properly, as well as encourage them to report illegal dumping when they see it.
There are three easy ways: phone 604.465.5454, email email@example.com, or online pittmeadows.ca/reportdumping.
Petersen said they will sometimes find some identifying material like bills, or forms with someone’s address when attending a dumping incident.
“We don’t like to root through the garbage too much, but every time we’re dealing with it, if we can find an address, we will follow up with that resident,” he said. “We’ve actually had people cover the cost of the clean up, at the very least, they know we have information connected to them, and it hopefully makes them a little more wary about dumping things again.”
For more information see wasteinitsplace.ca for disposal and donation options.
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