Almost 240 tons of illegally dumped garbage has been removed from Crown land in Ymir with the help of Ministry of Forests staff, volunteers, and businesses.
The dumping at the site along Oscar Creek over the last 30 years was so extreme, the Ministry said in a news release, that it could be seen on a Google Earth map.
The 45-degree slope made removing the debris difficult.
Clean-up involved using a long-reach backhoe that could reach 19 meters downhill to remove the waste, which included old cars, appliances, furniture, yard waste, household garbage, and animal carcasses, the Ministry said.
Once the site has been cleared, rehabilitation began. Soil was laid down and topped with pulp biosolids — a nutrient-rich byproduct of the pulping process that converts to organic soil in three to six months. The site was then seeded with grass and 200 seedlings planted.
The entire project took six days.
Cull Brothers Contracting of Creston donated the backhoe, Salmo’s Scrap King picked up and hauled away the salvageable metal, Zellstoff Celgar provided the pulp biosolids, and Pacific Regeneration Technologies of Harrop provided the tree seedlings.
The Ministry of Forests put up $15,000 to pay for the backhoe work and move the garbage to the Salmo landfill, while the Regional District of Central Kootenay provided a $20,000 grant to cover the tipping fees.
The fire department and others volunteered to re-seed and plant the trees.
No dumping signs will be posted at the site and compliance and enforcement officers will monitor the area.
Dumping garbage and waste on Crown land is an offence under the Environmental Management Act.
The Ministry of Forests has a $65,000 in its budget for environmental clean-up projects in the Kootenay Boundary.
The news release said this was “by far the biggest project,” but other, smaller ones have also taken place, including removing abandoned vehicles from Crown land, cleaning up smaller dumpsites in the Champion creek area, and dismantling an illegal cabin and outhouse near Castlegar.