Toronto’s garbage dumps may soon overflow

City strike means 21 temp trash sites set up, two already at capacity
Others are nearing 90 percent full, city waste manager says

By Kris Scheuer
(For the latest on dumps, see my July 24 story)
t’s day 16 of the strike and the city’s temporary dumps are filling up fast.
Locations are full between 15 and 90 percent depending on the size of the neighbourhood trash site. 
“We are (on average) between 40 and 50 percent capacity,” Geoff Rathbone, general manager of solid waste management, said at today’s media briefing.
“There’s a range from teens to 80-90 percent.”
He wouldn’t specify which dumps are closest to being full. 
Currently, the city has 21 trash depots in neighbourhoods across Toronto. Two sites have been closed because they’ve already reached capacity. 
The government is monitoring the remaining locations daily to determine when another dump will be filled to the max, said Rathbone July 7.
If the city needs to close sites and add new ones, it has close to 200 locations to choose from in a pinch.
That’s because prior to the June 22 walkout, the city submitted a list of about 200 potential dump sites to the Ministry of Environment.
“Our certificate of approval covers all those sites,” he said.

While the city has not released the list of additional dumps, one was leaked to the media last week. 
An ongoing issue at the current garbage sites is spraying for pest control and removing illegal dumping. In some cases picketers have blocked non-unionized workers from addressing the issues, Rathbone said. 
“In total we have had six orders from our department of health and in one of those cases at Christie Pits we needed to seek a (court) injunction in order to ultimately access the site,” he said of the July 4 spraying of pesticides. 
“We have five additional (health) orders, three of which we have had success or expect success today in applying the necessary pest control,” he added. “There are two additional sites where later today we will be making an attempt to apply pest control.” 
Those five sites are: Scarborough Arena, Eglinton Flats, Caledonia Park, Wishing Well Park and Earlscourt. 
The health department orders relate to applying pesticides, removing illegally dumped garbage and managing standing water.
(Originally published July 7/09 at


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