Bugs and rats could nest at mini-dumps

That’s if temporary trash sites set up during strike aren’t sprayed

By Kris Scheuer
An infestation of rats and bugs could be coming to a neighbourhood near you thanks to the city’s temporary trash sites.
With the strike now finishing its second week, the mounds of garbage are growing and so are concerns for public health as stagnant waste is left to fester in the summer sun.
“Following visits by Toronto Public Health yesterday to several of our temporary garbage drop off sites and in consultation with (medical officer of health) Dr. McKeown, we are amending our spraying protocol,” Geoff Rathbone, general manager of solid waste management services said July 3.
“We will continue to spray daily for odour control, but will implement a more balanced approach for pest control,” he said. “Therefore starting today, we will spray for pest control based on the results of daily, individual site inspections.”
Rathbone said that this could potentially reduce the amount of pest control spraying that’s needed.
To reduce the need for more spraying, he asked residents to double bag any waste tossed at these temporary mini-dumps.Dr. McKeown added, “A temporary garbage site need not pose a health risk if they are well managed. As part of this management it’s essential that that adequate pest control measures are maintained to prevent infestations of insect and rodents which may present a potential health hazard.”
“I am satisfied that all precautions are being taken to apply pesticides in a way that minimizes the risk to public health,” said the city’s medical officer of health. 
“Because there have been obstructions at some sites to (stop) pest control officers from applying pesticides that will prevent infestations, I am issuing an appeal for cooperation to ensure the sites can be managed as to prevent health risks,” said McKeown.
Trash has been accumulating at 19 temporary dumps since June 25, so much so that two have reached capacity. The one at York Mills Arena closed today and by July 5, the temporary dump at Christie Pits will also be shut. Garbage will not be picked up at any of these locations until the strike is over. 
To accommodate the need for more capacity, two new sites were added today at Wilket Creek/Sunnybrook Park and Centennial Arena Community Centre. In total all 21 sites, open or closed, will be monitored for pest and odour control, said Rathbone.
The head of the waste department also reminded people not to dump illegally. Fines start at $380 and so far the city’s Municipal Licensing and Standards department has issued 209 tickets and more than 2,900 warnings for illegal dumping.
(Written an originally posted July 3/09 at www.mytowncrier.ca)

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