Grow-op waste leads to contamination concerns: CRD

Illegal dumping of items related to grow-ops has the Cariboo Regional District looking for solutions.

Illegal dumping of items related to grow-ops has the Cariboo Regional District looking for solutions.

“We’ve got people who either have illegal grow-ops or have medicinal license to grow and they are growing more than they should,” Area H director Margo Wagner said during the board’s Friday meeting.

“We had a massive dump across from the landfill a week ago. It’s cleaned up now, but I don’t know what the fix is.”

There was evidence found in the material that traced it back to an address in Surrey and it is being investigated by the RCMP, Wagner added.

The main item being dumped is soil, Wagner said, adding it isn’t being dumped at the refuse sites because growers are worried the attendants will report them.

“But they aren’t there to report people and couldn’t care less. They are there to do a job, they aren’t there to report,” she said. “I have concerns about illegal dumping, but I have massive concerns about what’s going into our water sources.”

Illegal dumping is also happening alongside the 108 Mile Road, Chair Al Richmond said adding the CRD has had success when environmental services manager Mitch Minchau and the Ministry of Environment investigate incidents.

“In my area a few years ago there was illegal dumping of a whole bunch of material,” Richmond said.

“There were probably 250 five-gallon pails from a bulk station in Williams Lake.”

An investigation revealed where the pails came from and that led to the closure of an illegal grow-op.

There is an existing unsightly premises bylaw, however, it only pertains to private property, confirmed Karen Moores, general manager of development services.

“What we’ve done on Crown land is contact the Conservation Officer Service and try and team up with them to get a resolution,” Moores said. “I don’t think there’s a quick solution to it, but that’s how we’ve been dealing with it so far.”

100 Mile House mayor Mitch Campsall suggested signage be placed over a section at sites for grow-op refuse at the stations.

“That way it’s going into the garbage where it should be and not being illegally dumped,” Campsall said.

“You are better off to have it controlled than not.”

Before the sites were gated, there’d be massive influxes of dryer and washing machine drums, Wagner said.

“We had the biggest meth lab ever busted in Forest Grove and it had been going on for six years before it was busted. All of the waste from the lab was going to the site. That’s what I said when people were opposed to gating the site. If they had any idea what was going there they’d be only too glad the marshalling area was being controlled.”

At Eagle Creek where it isn’t gated, Wagner gets frequent calls because when local grow-ops in the area change their soil every six to eight weeks, the bins are full of garbage bags with the soil in them and the residents cannot get their household garbage in them.

The board passed a motion requesting staff bring back recommendations on how to handle the issue.