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Lacombe County illegal dumper caught in the act

Eyewitness saw bags of vermiculite being dumped and notified county

A litter bug who was using a remote Lacombe County road to dump bags of vermiculite was caught red-handed recently.

County community services director Dion Burlock gave county council a report on Thursday on what went down on a rural road near Eckville last month.

The trashy tale began when a county resident spotted someone dumping bags of vermiculite, a granular product typically used as a soil additive, on a county gravel road on the afternoon of Jan. 30.

Allegedly, the culprit told the sharp-eyed resident he was told by his boss to dump the bags. The resident took down the licence number of the dumper’s vehicle and called the county when he left.

A county patrol officer was soon on scene and was talking with the eyewitness when the dumper, who was concerned his licence number may have been recorded, returned. It turns out he was a local contractor and not an employee of a company.

The county patrol officer explained to the man the error of his ways and fined him under the Alberta Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act. The fine amount was not available on Thursday, however, littering fines under the act range from $250 to $10,000.

In a photo Burlock showed council, at least half a dozen large bags of the grey, sand-like product can be seen dumped on the road taking up about half the driving width. One of the bags has split open, spilling its contents on the road.

“That was the thing that upset me. The bags are quite large and it was in the middle of the road,” Burlock said.

Coun. Dana Kreil wondered if the county had any way to formally thank the resident who spotted the illegal dumping.

Burlock said the eyewitness was thanked but the county does not want to encourage people to get directly involved when they see illegal dumping. There is always the possibility the person could be linked to something “nefarious” such as a drug operation.

“We don’t want our residents dealing with those individuals,” he added.

Illegal dumping has been a major irritant in central Alberta counties.

Last October, Red Deer County council boosted the fine for illegal dumping to $2,500 in hopes of deterring litter bugs.

Anyone caught dumping illegally in Red Deer County may be making a $2,500 mistake.

Council voted to boost the fine for dumping rocks, brush, rubbish or debris in a county ditch to $2,500 from $100.

County patrol manager Irv Heide told council his officers have investigated 151 cases of illegal dumping since the beginning of 2018. However, those incidents have led to only four tickets and fines and one warning issued.

Heide called the $100 fine a “very nominal deterrent.”

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