Construction waste dumped last year in Langley Township. Township crews have to check for asbestos when they find drywall.

Taxpayers foot dumping bill in Langley

The cost of cleaning up dump sites is still relatively high.

Langley Township staffers are hoping that their efforts to cut back on illegal dumping will help as construction and renovation season ramps up in the spring.

While the last year has seen some progress since the Township started its IDIOT campaign against illegal dumpers, construction debris is still an issue.

About 18 per cent of dumped garbage is construction waste, said Ryan Schmidt, the Township’s manager of energy and solid waste.

That’s down from the historic average of 25 per cent.

But the real problem isn’t just waste, it’s waste that contains asbestos.

“Those are the expensive ones,” Schmidt said.

Older drywall can contain asbestos, and disposing of that is tricky, since it can’t simply be carted off to the local waste transfer station in Aldergrove.

About three per cent of all dump sites contain asbestos or other suspected hazardous wastes, and those have to be dealt with by outside contractors who can handle it safely.

Even though dumping was down 10 per cent in early 2016 compared to early 2015, costs rose, Schmidt said.

“That is likely because of more hazardous material being dumped,” he said.

The construction waste that contains asbestos typically shows up more in the spring or summer. It’s usually dumped in relatively small batches, suggesting it’s individuals and a few small contractors who are ditching their trash.

The Township’s total budget for trash and recycling is $10 million a year.

Out of that, it spends about $400,000 on dumping and litter control programs.

That includes estimated costs for dealing with people who sometimes cram their household wastes into civic and park dumpsters, illegal dumping, and the Adopt-A-Street program.

With spring coming, the Township is looking at ways to cut down on the construction waste dumped around the community.

Some plans in the works may include giving out information at building supply stores like Rona and Home Depot, where staff can connect with people doing renovations. They can give out info on how to properly dispose of waste wood and drywall.

Household trash is a smaller issue. While it’s a cost, it can at least simply be trucked to the waste transfer site.

“Household waste we get dumped all year,” said Schmidt.