Advertisement

MD of Taber officials point to contractors for illegal dumping

Click to play video 'MD of Taber officials point to contractors for spike in illegal dumping' MD of Taber officials point to contractors for spike in illegal dumping
WATCH ABOVE: Officials in the MD of Taber say a recent spike in illegal dumping is connected to hail damage repair work being done by disreputable contractors. As Emily Olsen reports, the recent incidents pose a threat to water drainage systems in the area – Nov 9, 2020

After parts of the MD of Taber were hit by major hail damage this year, construction companies are hard at work repairing it. However, increased projects have led to increased illegal waste in the region. 

“Particularly in the Barnwell area, I mean there’s a lot of people out there working,” Paw Pedersen, the owner of Maple Leaf Construction, said. “People should do their homework [to ensure they are working] with reputable companies, because they do things the proper way.”

MD officials say several recent instances of illegal dumping have been connected to some of that construction work.

Story continues below advertisement

Read more: ‘Very disheartening’: Lethbridge officials react to rise in illegal dumping

MD of Taber’s director of community safety Kirk Hughes said it’s not believed the waste is coming from reputable local companies.

“The issue is when someone hires a friend, or a friend of a friend, and they throw [the waste] in the back of someone’s pickup truck with a blue tarp and drop it off in the middle of someone’s field,” Hughes said. “That’s when we end up finding it in our farmers’ fields, our irrigation ditches, our drainage ditches.”

Along with adding stress on local farmers, Hughes said the incidents are now threatening water infrastructure in the area.

“It’s not a victimless crime.

“Irrigation and storm drainage, especially in that particular area of Barnwell, the south district, comes back towards us,” Hughes explained. “If we block our drainage ditches and our stormwater [drainage], we potentially could flood out roads, we could damage our roadways, we could ruin an entire road or close a road down. Repairing and replacing roads is not a cheap thing.”
Story continues below advertisement

Read more: Alberta announces funding for Taber Irrigation District

Pedersen said he’s thrilled to see people supporting local businesses like his, but urges caution with selecting contractors to ensure they are utilizing the waste-removal funds provided by most insurance companies.

“It’s a big part of the industry, I mean [regardless of if it’s a] big or small job, it doesn’t matter. There’s things that have to go to the landfill and it should be taken care of properly instead of maliciously dumped in a coulee somewhere,” Pedersen said.

Hughes said the focus right now is on educating people in the MD on proper disposal options.

He urges those with information to come forward.

Read more: Nobleford, Alta., recycling company uses local plastic for area projects

“If the waste looks familiar to you and it’s yours, you’re not in trouble — unless you did it,” he chuckled. “But if you hired a contractor, we just want to talk to speak to them about this. We can’t have illegal dumpsites. The ones we find are one thing. Who knows how many more are out there that we haven’t located yet?”

Story continues below advertisement

Waste removal fees in the Town of Taber are currently $40 for one load.