New Brunswick

Oromocto oblivious to the extent of illegal dumping on town-owned lot

The Town of Oromocto says it had no idea of how much illegal dumping was taking place at one of its public work sites.

Electronics, gas jugs, tires and fire extinguishers dumped less than 200m from wetland nature park

It's difficult to tell how much material has been illegally dumped due to much it covered up by heavy equipment. (Shane Fowler/CBC)

The Town of Oromocto says it had no idea how much illegal dumping was taking place at one of its public work sites.

A tip led CBC News to find a pile of garbage at the town's lot meant to store asphalt and concrete from road projects. 

Items included large appliances like ovens, tires, gas jugs, several smashed toilets, electronics, building materials, pool supplies, fire extinguishers and hundreds of plastic bags filled with garbage and leaves. 

The twisted remains of what appears to be a tractor-trailer was also found. 

The town says a third-party contractor buried much of the material without knowing what should and should not be covered. (Shane Fowler/CBC)

It's difficult to tell how much garbage has been dumped as much of it has been buried by heavy equipment. 

"It has to be stopped," said Steven Basque, an Oromocto town engineer. 

Basque said he knew some people were illegally dumping at the town-owned site, but he said he wasn't aware of most of the materials found by CBC News. 

He vowed to clean it up. 

A pile of broken toilets and sinks has been illegally dumped at an Oromocto public works lot. The town says it will be cleaning up the materials that should not be at the site. (Shane Fowler/CBC)

"Anything that's there that's not supposed to be there, it's got to be disposed at the solid waste commission, there's no question about that," said Basque. 

Basque said the town hires a third-party contractor to level the site and they were unaware of what should and should not be buried. 

The Town of Oromocto says it's facing a large cleanup effort after illegal dumping was discovered at a public works yard. 1:00

Sensitive site

The illegal dumping at the town site is less than 200 metres from a municipal nature park. 

The Gateway Wetlands sit across the road from the town's yard. 

Pat McCarthy, CEO of Recycle NB, says much of the material could be recycled or at least taken to depots for proper disposal for free. (Joe McDonald/CBC)

The wetland area is home to several species and boasts boardwalks and walking trails for nature lovers. 

Its proximity to the dump site is not lost on the town. 

"It's a beautiful spot," said Basque. "We take a lot of pride into that and I wouldn't want to know of something like this to take away from that image." 

Recyclable materials

CBC News showed photos of some of the waste that was illegally dumped to a recycling expert, who said most materials could be properly recycled or disposed of free of charge. 

Household waste, electronics, fire extinguishers, gas jugs, lawn gear, pool supplies and crushed parts of a tractor-trailer have been found at an Oromocto public works site used to store concrete and asphalt from road work. (Shane Fowler/CBC)

"We have programs for tires, paint, oil and glycol, electronics. They can be brought back to depots or garages for free," said Pat McCarthy, CEO of Recycle NB. 

"It's unfortunate that citizens do this. For recycling and landfills, we are one of the best provinces in Canada." 

Basque said the gate leading into the public work site is often left open. He said there are communication devices for the RCMP and Rogers on top of the Oromocto water tower that looms over the area. The gate is often left open for access, but he said that will stop immediately.

"Nobody will have access and the gate will be locked at all time."

About the Author

Shane Fowler

Reporter

Shane Fowler has been a CBC journalist based in Fredericton since 2013.

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