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Massive illegal dumping site in Ymir visible from space; now removed

Compliance and Enforcement staff removed almost 240 tons(529,000 lbs.) of illegally-dumped garbage from Crown land near Oscar Creek earlier this month with help from local volunteers and businesses.

Clean-up involved using a special, long-reach backhoe that could reach 19 metres (65 feet) downhill to remove the waste - everything from old cars, appliances, furniture, yard waste, household garbage to animal carcasses.

Illegal dumping has occurred at this site for over 30 years and was so extreme, it could be seen on a Google Earth map.

Once the site was cleared, rehabilitation could begin. Soil was laid down and topped off 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 were planted.

The entire project took six days and would not have been possible without the contribution and assistance from neighbouring businesses and communities:

Community contributions:

  • The use of the backhoe was donated by Cull Bros Contracting in Creston;
  • Salvageable metal was picked up and hauled away by Scrap King in Salmo;
  • $15,000 from the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations for the backhoe work and transporting mixed refuse to the Salmo Central landfill for disposal.
  • The pulp biosolids were provided by Zellstoff Celgar in Castlegar.
  • The tree seedlings were donated by Pacific Regeneration Technologies in Proctor.
  • Fire chief Tom Graper, fire department staff and other volunteers from Ymir volunteered their time to re-seed and plant trees.
  • The Regional District of Central Kootenay covered the landfill fees with a $20,000 grant.

What's next? "No Dumping" signs will be posted at the site and the area will be regularly monitored by compliance and enforcement officers.

The public is reminded that dumping of garbage and waste on Crown land is an offence under the Environmental Management Act.

"Before, during and after" photos are available at:

Quick facts

  • The downhill slopes at the site are about 45 degrees, making removal of debris difficult.
  • The Kootenay/Boundary Region of Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations has a budget of $65,000 for environmental clean-up projects. This is by far the biggest project, but many other smaller projects have taken place.
  • Several abandoned vehicles were removed from Crown land, smaller dumpsites in the Champion Creek area were cleaned up, and an illegal cabin and outhouse were dismantled near Castlegar.
  • Bears can be attracted to garbage, which could lead to the destruction of the bear if it wanders into nearby communities and presents a risk to the public.
  • Refuse that is improperly disposed takes years to break down, chokes out natural vegetation and can be a significant wildfire risk.
  • Observe suspected offenders and record details such as the time, location, descriptions of persons and vehicles, including licence plate numbers, and report the information to the closest Front Counter BC Office or call toll-free 1-877-855-3222, or call the Report All Poachers and Polluters (RAPP) line at 1 877 952-7277.