Illegal dumping near St. John's watershed a hazard
Piles of trash showing up in the woods is trouble enough for St. John's, but when illegal dumping starts happening near the water supply, the problem becomes more pressing.
Two piles of garbage were recently discovered in the woods surrounding the water treatment facility near Windsor Lake in Airport Heights.
Councillor Tom Hann says the location of the dumping is a big risk for the city.
"The biggest problem with this one is that it is within the watershed — the protected area — where the water supply is, and this dump is only a few metres up the street from our water treatment plant," he said.
"Besides dumping and making a mess, destroying the environment, to make matters worse, it's within the watershed area where we get our water."
Hann said he doesn't understand why people still feel the need to leave their trash in the woods.
"There is absolutely no reason why this kind of thing should be happening," Hann said. "We have an ultra-modern landfill — you can drive up and throw your household goods away."
Resident Kathy Roberts said dumping in the area isn't nearly as bad as it once was.
"Up until last year, people were driving up to the water tower and dumping their waste there. And since they put the gate up about maybe a year ago, a little more than a year, they start dumping it down here," she said.
"I don't know why they can't go to the dump."
Roberts said she's happy to see the city taking action to deter people from leaving their garbage near her home.
"My oldest child was only about one when we first walked up behind the house and we were very disgusted to see dirty diapers, empty beer bottles — smashed — furniture, paint cans everywhere, and we just went straight back to the house," Roberts said.
"They're not dumping in their own neighbourhood — they're coming into mine and dumping here."
Roberts said she's got her own way of deterring people from leaving piles of garbage in her neighbourhood.
"Every time I turn up onto Parker Pond Road, I have my cellphone ready on camera, and if I do see anyone, I'm ready to take the picture and say, 'Get it out of here or I'm calling the police,'" she said.
According to Hann, the city may be looking into security cameras in known dumping sites to catch people leaving behind trash.
"Right now, our staff is putting together a proposal for council that will do a pilot project to get cameras in the woods, in the trees, and everything else. The deterrent there is that nobody knows where these cameras are going to be in the known dump sites — they will be circulated around," he said.
Hann said there were originally security concerns about the cameras, but after the success of a similar program in Conception Bay South, he's hoping council will reconsider.