It only takes a relatively small percentage of loads in any given site to cause site contamination. Worse, all it takes is one unscrupulous contractor to dump loads that he/she knows to be contaminated in unsuspecting communities because, in doing so, he/she avoids the costs associated with taking it to a designated site. The community is left to deal with the environmental damage and costly cleanup. The consequences can include:
Harmful and potentially toxic substances percolate down through the soil to the ground water table. Once there, they can easily contaminate wells across an extended area.
Harmful substances and chemicals are washed, perhaps as a result of a heavy rainfall, into a nearby river or stream making the water harmful to plants and wildlife.
If a contaminated site is too close to a wetland or marsh, potentially toxic substances can make their way into the marsh where they can foul the water and be taken up by the plant life. This can either kill the vegetation or foul it so that wildlife becomes sick when they consume it.
The contaminants in the soil make it unfit for use as farmland. If the site isn’t remediated, planted crops will absorb any toxins, which then can potentially enter the food chain.
Hundreds of dump trucks rumbling down our country roads create incessant noise and dust if the roads aren’t paved. Furthermore, bulldozers used to grade the dumpsite make the dust and noise problem much worse for immediate neighbours.
Rural areas feed cities. The Town of Erin is in the provincial greenbelt, established to protect valuable farmland. Dumping of fill is a commercial opportunity for a few, while often destroying valuable, diminishing cropland.
Unconsolidated fill will mix with rainwater to clog and plug waterways and run onto neighbouring properties.
History has shown repeatedly that in situations like this, the party responsible often can’t be found or can’t be held accountable due to vague and weakly enforced regulation. Contamination is also usually discovered well after the fact so costly site remediation and any potential lawsuits brought by affected property owners are usually borne by taxpayers.
Relentless truck traffic on roads that weren’t designed or built to withstand that kind of heavy use will deteriorate at an accelerated rate resulting in increased maintenance and repair costs.
On many country roads, visibility often isn’t the best and there are frequent stop signs. Big dump trucks often roll through stop signs, travelling at high speed because, to them, time is money. That significantly increases the safety risks, especially during the school year.
Deer, coyotes, raccoons and other wildlife are forced to change their travel patterns to circumvent a dumpsite that used to be an open field.
Living next to a contaminated dumping site is difficult enough but if you own the property adjacent to one, the value of your property can often drop significantly.