The P.E.I. government is taking too long and not committing enough resources to clean up abandoned dump sites, says a local environmentalist.
There are about 100 dumps and four landfill sites across the province that could pose an environmental risk. The dumps are a legacy of a time before the Waste Watch recycling program came to the Island in the late 1990s. Most of the province's dumps and landfills were closed then, but Sharon Labchuk of Earth Action says they are still an environmental hazard.
"The older community dump sites would be a problem because those were never monitored," said Labchuk.
"They're too old to have been monitored and there wouldn't have been any control about what went into the ground."
In her 2013 report, Auditor General Jane MacAdam noted the government set aside $350,000 to clean up all the dumps, but spent $420,000 and only cleaned up three sites. MacAdam said the province needs to reassess its clean up plans.
Brian Thompson, director of land and environment for the province, said the province is moving as quickly as it can.
"We continue to, from year to year, assess as many former community landfills and dumps as we can, and work with the department of environment and Island Waste Management Corporation at identifying priority sites, cleaning them up and remediating them," said Thompson.
Thompson said the province will come up with a formal plan, but Labchuk said the longer the sites sit unremediated the more likely it is contamination will leak into groundwater.