Conservation Officer Don Stahl probes a pile of illegally dumped garbage containing asbestos. The site was off a forest services road in the Chilliwack River Valley.

Conservation Officer Don Stahl probes a pile of illegally dumped garbage containing asbestos. The site was off a forest services road in the Chilliwack River Valley.

More asbestos dumped in the Chilliwack River Valley

They found 14 bags of waste, and some was confirmed to contain asbestos. It was dumped deep in the back country.

Someone went way out of their way to illegally dump more than a dozen bags of asbestos-laden materials in the Chilliwack River Valley — again.

It looks like it’s becoming a problem.

A veteran conservation officer told The Progress this week, he had not personally seen other asbestos dumping cases before in the CRV.

It’s the fourth time in six months.

“In my 20 year career, I can’t remember other calls like this,” said Conservation Officer Don Stahl.

They found 14 bags of what looks like construction waste, and some was confirmed to contain asbestos.

It was a mix of extra-large, black commercial garbage bags, along with yellow ones denoting they contain some sort of chemical or hazardous waste.

The dump site location, off a forest services road, near the Ford Mountain Correctional Centre, made it suspicious.

“They went really out of their way not to be seen,” the officer said. “And in the last seven months we’ve had quite an alarming quantity of these calls.”

Four of these dump incidents have so far cost the province, and taxpayers just under $12,000 for proper disposal.

He called out an emergency response officer from Surrey to investigate and identify the dumped material.

There could be several reasons why it is happening.

“It may be, as we were led to understand, that certain landfills are not accepting these materials anymore. Number two is the cost, it’s not as cheap as dumping household garbage for example. And three, is laziness,” he said.

They were notified in late May, the bags spotted by local citizens who were scouting other dump sites and came upon the mess.

“It could have been someone renovating a home who hired a company that wasn’t reputable, or a fly-by-night operation,” said the CO.

Instead of paying the disposal fees, and doing it properly, they just unload it deep in the back country, and pocket the difference.

But the criminals are taking a big risk. Those willing to discard illegal and hazardous cancer-causing materials like asbestos in the pristine back country should be forewarned, it’s not just a little fine if they get caught. They could lose their vehicles and more, added Stahl.

It’s also hard to pinpoint how long the bags had been there, but the cleanup was conducted Sunday by a crew contracted to dispose of it properly. They had to gather, re-bag, label and haul away the deteriorating mess of what looked like construction demolition debris, gyp-rock, tiles and insulation.

Photos were taken at the dump site and sent to the COs in late May, said Chris Gadsden, member of the Fraser Valley Illegal Dumping Alliance. They are actively pushing for more enforcement in the area, or something to quell the practice of deleterious dumping.

‘”We have now reached the point something has to be done to change things around as this has gone on for way too long,” said Gadsden.

“In 2002 we realized something had to be done then, but it has been cleanups and trying to educate users of the Chilliwack River Valley ever since, but it has not improved very much.”

As the population and number of visitors continues to grow, it gets worse.

“Many people say close these areas off, and it may help that area, but they just go elsewhere to dump garbage and leave a messy camp after a few days’ stay.

“Our province is just too big to block everything off.”

City of Chilliwack has been taking steps to make the Bailey Landfill able to accept asbestos.

The CO has some advice for the public who want to protect the environment from illegal dumping. If they spot a suspicious vehicle, say with 10 to 20 bags of garbage in the back of a pickup heading up the valley, try to take a photo of the bags. Record the licence plate number and get a detailed description of the vehicle, if possible, the CO said, and call it in to the RAPP line.

A plate number is not enough since criminals often slap a stolen plate onto their vehicle to commit crimes. The COs need the specific make, and model of the suspect vehicle, and any distinguishing elements like roof racks.

“But if we do catch someone in the act of polluting, it’s not just a fine. We would advocate seizing the vehicle through civil forfeiture, especially in a case like this where it’s hazardous materials, known to cause cancer,” said Stahl.

At this point they have no suspects, and no leads.

To report illegal dumping, call the provincial RAPP line – Report All Poachers and Polluters, 1-877-952-7277.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Annette Williams with Chilliwack Learning Society holds up one of the pages of ‘Muncha! Muncha! Muncha!’ by Candace Fleming, the story chosen for the downtown StoryWalk event. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
StoryWalk transforms Chilliwack trails, sidewalks into outdoor literacy adventures

Families can read children’s stories together, page by page, as they walk story routes

Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson (Office of the Chief Justice)
Judge questions whether B.C.’s top doctor appreciated right to religious freedom

Lawyer for province says Dr. Henry has outlined the reasons for her orders publicly

Items seized by Chilliwack RCMP and Abbotsford Police during a Feb. 23 traffic stop. (RCMP photo)
Police from Chilliwack and Abbotsford seize drugs in traffic stop

Chilliwack RCMP worked with the Abbotsford PD to seize four kilograms of suspected fentanyl

(Black Press file photo)
Chilliwack RCMP looking for man who tried to grab boy near Robertson elementary school

A man in a parked minivan reached out the driver side window as a young boy passed by

Hope’s station house, moved from its original location along the railroad to 111 Old Hope Princeton Way. (Emelie Peacock/Hope Standard)
Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Dr. Bonnie Henry pauses for a moment as she gives her daily media briefing regarding COVID-19 for British Columbia in Victoria, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
7 additional deaths and 542 new COVID-19 cases in B.C.

Provincial health officials reported 18 new COVID-19 cases linked to variants of concern

A recently finished $4.3-million taxiway extension at the Victoria International Airport (not pictured) is unusable because of a blind spot. (Black Press Media file photo)
Blind spot leaves Victoria airport’s new $4.3-million taxiway extension unusable

Solution has been put on hold by COVID-19 pandemic, says airport authority

The City of Vancouver estimates there are 3,500 Canada geese in the city right now, and that number is growing. (Bruce Hogarth)
Help tame Vancouver’s Canada goose population by reporting nests: park officials

The city is asking residents to be on the lookout so staff can remove nests or addle eggs

A sample of guns seized at the Pacific Highway border crossing from the U.S. into B.C. in 2014. Guns smuggled from the U.S. are used in criminal activity, often associated with drug gangs. (Canada Border Service Agency)
B.C. moves to seize vehicles transporting illegal firearms

Bill bans sale of imitation or BB guns to young people

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

BC Housing minister David Eby is concerned that Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter will result in a “tent city” similar to this one in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / Black Press file)
‘Disappointed and baffled’ B.C. housing minister warns of tent city in Penticton

Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter could create tent city, says David Eby

Photo: Surrey RCMP
Surrey RCMP arrests two boys, age 16, during dial-a-dope investigation in Whalley

Sergeant Elenore Sturko said one boy is ‘alleged to have been in possession of a loaded handgun at the time of his arrest’

A recently published study out of UBC has found a link between life satisfaction levels and overall health. (Pixabay)
Satisfied with life? It’s likely you’re healthier for it: UBC study

UBC psychologists have found those more satisfied with their life have a 26% reduced risk of dying

A vial of some of the first 500,000 of the two million AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses that Canada has secured through a deal with the Serum Institute of India in partnership with Verity Pharma at a facility in Milton, Ont., on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio - POOL
Federal panel recommends 4-month gap between COVID vaccine doses due to limited supply

The recommendation applies to all COVID-19 vaccines currently approved in Canada

Most Read