Old dumps a liability

I have met some “old-timers” who remember taking their garbage in a wheel barrow down to the banks of Speed and Eramosa rivers to dispose of it in unofficial dumps.  The practice fell  our of favour about 50 or so years ago.

The City has offered curb-side pick up of residential waste for many decades.  Some “middle-timers” will recall garbage was picked up in dark green garbage bags and was trucked to the Eastview Landfill – organics, recyclable material, batteries, pesticides, anything and everything.  This practice has also fallen out of favour for many reasons.

Things are very different today.  We keep organic waste out of landfill.  We know organic material can create “leachate” and “leachate” can contaminate groundwater. Today we repurpose our organic waste into compost.  We recycle a whole host of materials including batteries, electronics, construction waste and tires.  The City provides a service to reuse paint and a Hazardous Waste Depot to safely dispose of dangerous materials.  You can find out more at guelph.ca on the webpage for Garbage and Recycling 

Both of the past practices are good examples of what it means to leave a liability.

The Audit Committee is receiving a status report this week on our liability for City-owned contaminated sites.  These river bank dumps and the Eastview Landfill will be among them.  We must account for and report on the liabilities associated with the remediation of contaminated sites – that means what will it cost to clean them up.

Fortunately, we are building a waste management system today that will leave a legacy and not a liability to our children and grandchildren.  You can learn more at guelph.ca on the webpage for the Solid Waste Management Master Plan Review.



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About Karen Farbridge

An unwavering change maker seeking a just, democratic and sustainable world.

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