TRURO – JP Wood gingerly pulls apart some soiled paper.
© Raissa Tetanish - Truro Daily News
Municipality of Colchester County councillor Ron Cavanaugh, left, stands with waste management office JP Wood at an illegal dumping site along the West North River Road on Monday. The councillor received a call on Saturday about the site, which saw close to 20 dark garbage bags dumped. Wood was able to find a name and address inside one of the bags and hopes to find the party responsible.
He stops, looking down, to see what he might or might not have found. And then his smile spreads.
“I found a name,” he said, “and an address.”
Wood is excited because, as part of his job as waste management officer with the Municipality of Colchester, he spends a lot of time investigating illegal dumping much like what was found on the West North River Road on Friday.
“We’re trying to determine where the material came from, so I’ll be digging through it to see if I can find any evidence as to who had care and control of its disposal.”
A woman walking along the road Friday night noticed close to 20 bags of garbage on the side of the road and called the area councillor, Ron Cavanaugh, on Saturday.
“It’s very sickening,” said Cavanaugh about the illegal dumping. “This is something we are even dealing with in council right now.”
Having grown up in the area and still living there now, Cavanaugh said he drives the road on a regular basis.
“This is one of the worst places I have seen for illegal dumping, and this is one of the worst instances I’ve seen on this road.”
When the county gets called about illegal dump sites, Wood said he will often find something with some sort of identification on it.
“It might be an address, or it might be children’s names, but then we can backtrack using things such as social media,” he said. “It’s disappointing at this point that we haven’t found more (identification clues) here.”
But that was said shortly before Wood, wearing gloves, ripped into another garbage bag.
Looking at the trash, the waste management officer said its contents were normal household waste.
“There’s some recyclable material and food waste,” he said, noting refundables were clearly noticeable. “Because it was in dark bags, it wouldn’t have been picked up curbside, but even if it was all in clear bags, it still wouldn’t have been because it’s not sorted.”
When asked if it’s laziness behind illegal dumping, Wayne Wamboldt, director of waste management for the county, said it’s not the case.
“It goes beyond that,” said Wamboldt. “It is absolute contempt for your neighbours and the environment. Generally when someone is doing illegal dumping, it takes a lot more work than disposing of it properly.”
Wamboldt wondered if people do it in “the cover of darkness” for fear of getting caught.
“It’s so pointless,” he said.
“The cost to the county to dispose of illegal dumping sites is tremendous.”
Because Wood was able to find some identification, he will try to find out who dumped the garbage.
“But people are tight-lipped and very rarely tell you they dumped it,” he said.
“The more information we can find, the more it will aid in laying a charge, and/or having the responsible party cleaning it up. This problem is too common, but this amount is something we would usually find on a back road.”
If Wood isn’t able to determine who is responsible for dumping the mess, the county will be the one to clean it, sort the trash and put it in clear bags.