Scrap heap

A taxi in April 2019 drives on Green Mountain Road past the pile of debris accumulated by Appleton Waste. The pile has since been flattened and spread out.

Plans are finally taking shape to remove an unsightly mountain of garbage that was left on the Penticton Indian Reserve after a waste removal company went belly up.

The pile on Green Mountain Road, estimated to contain approximately 3,400 tonnes of trash, was abandoned in 2019 by Appleton Waste, which leased the land from a Penticton Indian Band member Adam Eneas before declaring insolvency.

In late 2019, the PIB asked the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen for a discount on tipping fees at the Campbell Mountain Landfill to help cut the cost of cleaning up, but directors balked at the idea of taxpayers bailing out a failed business partnership.

Now the PIB has formally put out a call for help to remove the piles.

The band earlier this month issued two requests for proposals: one for the sorting and removal of the waste and the other for environmental monitors to oversee the work.

The documents state about 80% of the material in the “illegal dump piles” is “very clearable and sortable as wood, plastic, newer roofing, new drywall job site clean-ups, hardy siding, clean wood from construction site, baled cardboard and other easily sorted items.

“Garbage will need to be sorted into compostable, non-compostable, and recyclable materials. All non-compostable and recyclable materials must be brought to a registered landfill and/or recycling facility for proper disposal. Compostable materials will be left on site for above-ground, covered composting.”

The other 20% of the material is assumed to contain asbestos, although testing at the site in July 2020 did not reveal the presence of asbestos, according to the documents, which state that material will still need to be hosed off and treated as if it’s hazardous.

“Ground around the waste pile is very absorbent and the waste pile is approximately 400 yards away from the (Okanagan River) channel. Caution is required to ensure no water flows outside the perimeter of the work site,” the documents state.

“The entire site needs to be very thoroughly scraped clean at the end of the project” and the “soil will need to be tested to confirm that it is not contaminated soil or removed and treated as contaminated soil.”

The budget for the project is set at $400,000 and all work must be complete by March 31, 2023, according to the documents, which state tipping fees will be paid by the land holder.

The PIB did not respond to a request for comment Thursday.