Taking away the trash
Municipality cleaning up illegal dump site discovered on their property
The cleanup of a large illegal dump site discovered on Cape Breton Reginal Municipality property is underway this week.
“It’s an estimated cost of $20,000 to clean up the site,” said Dist. 10 Coun. Darren Bruckschwaiger.
“The high costs are due to the amount (of garbage) that’s actually there.”
Cape Breton Regional Police have charged Donald Gordon MacDonald, 72, of Atlantic Street, Reserve Mines in conjunction with illegal dumping at this site. MacDonald is to enter a plea July 20.
“It’s my hope costs associated with this cleanup can be received back in the taxpayer’s coffers,” Bruckschwaiger said.
Bruckschwaiger said the investigation is continuing.
“It’s my understanding an investigation is continuing with further charges possibly being laid. It’s going to be cleaned up and then there’s plans in place to put up some more barricades to block off the site and possibly more video monitoring.”
In a story in the Cape Breton Post on May 8, residents of the area believe for decades household and industrial garbage has been dumped behind the water tower in Reserve Mines on CBRM property. Residents — many too scared to give their name — suspected the majority of the dumping at the site was being done for commercial purposes for the past 20 to 40 years and said they have filed multiple complaints with the CBRM, Cape Breton Regional Police and the Department of Environment over that time.
Bruckschwaiger said he’s also going to ask residents to be vigilant so this doesn’t happen again.
“Also, there’s been reports many calls have been made on the garbage at this site but personally myself I’ve never got a call about the garbage. I got calls on fires but not garbage.”
Bruckschwaiger said he’s asking that anyone seeing any activity in that area to call direct to the CBRM’s solid waste hotline at 902-567-1337 or to call him.
“The area will all be cleaned up and straightened away and we don’t want to see that happen again there.”
Jillian Moore, communications for the CBRM, confirmed MacDonald Trucking of North Sydney has been contracted for the cleanup, which began this week and is expected to finish on Saturday.
Moore confirmed the cost of the cleanup is $20,000 and that the CBRM will be looking to get reimbursed. The CBRM is also taking steps to secure the area.
“Moving forward, there will be fencing installed as a deterrent, and monitoring with camera as well as periodic physical inspections.” Dylan Yates, founder of the Cape Breton Environmental Association, has been at the site many times and found piles of garbage were moved and halfburied and many small hills were covered with grass that had rusted metals poking out and other garbage close by suggesting the activity had been going on for years.
Yates said one of his big concerns was what has been buried for years, including old oil tanks and old cars discovered there.
“Residents explained to me there were open pits there and all the garbage over the years was being buried.”
Yates, who is finishing his bachelor of environmental technology degree at Cape Breton University, has been studying situations like this, learning about the harmful chemicals that can leach into the ground.
“Lots of people are worried about what’s under the ground there and the implications of what’s making its way from the site underground.”
Yates said as far as digging everything up, he knows the CBRM won’t do that but he believes monitoring wells should be installed to see if there’s any contamination in ground water in the area.
“Cleaning the surface stuff is one thing but ignoring the fact stuff has been buried under there for 20 plus years — chemicals, cars, oils — is another thing. Just because you bury it doesn’t mean it doesn’t go anywhere.”
Meanwhile, Const. Dan Lewis of the Cape Breton Regional Police Service said the investigation into the illegal dumping at this site is continuing and he confirmed there is the possibility of a second person being charged.
Lewis, who took on the role of investigating illegal dumping in conjunction with CBRM Solid Waste department in January, said it’s definitely the worst case of illegal dumping he has seen so far.
Ron Ivey, machine operator with MacDonald’s Trucking and Backhoe in North Sydney, works at cleaning up illegal dumping discovered on CBRM property where the water tower is located in Reserve Mines. A Reserve Mines man has been charged and police say a...
Another area of the CBRM property in Reserve Mines where illegal dumping is taking place.