Illegal waste dumping
What to do if you find illegally dumped waste on your property.
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The Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change takes illegal waste dumping very seriously. A range of regulatory tools and penalties are available, including investigation and possible prosecution.
Under the Environmental Protection Act an individual or company could face significant penalties for each offence committed.
Waste can be hazardous or non-hazardous
Hazardous wastes can affect human health or the environment if improperly stored, transported, treated or disposed. Hazardous examples include:
- used batteries
- anything you would normally bring to a household hazardous waste depot
Non-hazardous waste includes:
- waste wood
- household garbage
- used furniture
- used tires
If you find hazardous waste on your property
Contact the provincial Spills Action Centre at:
- 1-855-889-5775 (TTY)
The province will respond to illegal dumping when:
- there is a real or potential threat to the environment
- there is evidence of a large or repeat dumping operation
- liquid industrial or hazardous waste are suspected to be involved
An Environmental Officer can assess the site and make all reasonable efforts to find the owner of the waste and require them to remove it.
If the person who owns the waste cannot be found then you are required to remove the waste and clean up the site as soon as possible.
- Contact your insurance provider as many property insurance policies cover the costs associated with illegal dumping of hazardous waste.
Contact a licensed waste contractor to help remove and safely dispose of the hazardous waste. Be sure to check with the company to ensure that it is licensed for this work. To do this, you can:
If you find non-hazardous waste on your property
You should always contact your local municipality first. Many municipalities have by-laws and property standards that apply to the illegal dumping of small quantities of solid non-hazardous waste on private land.
If your municipality cannot remove the waste then you are required to remove it and clean up the site as soon as possible.
To remove the waste:
Bring the waste to an approved waste disposal site or contact a licensed waste contractor to help with removal and disposal . To check that the company is licensed for this work, you can:
- Contact your insurance provider as many property insurance policies cover the costs associated with illegal dumping of non-hazardous waste.
How to prevent illegal waste dumping
To prevent illegal waste dumping on your property:
- survey your property and look for areas that are easily accessible by the road or hidden from neighbours and consider ways of restricting these areas from public access
- plant trees or shrubs for use as a fence line
- install cameras on the property
- place fencing and signs around the property
- install additional lighting around the site
If you have additional questions, please contact the ministry’s Public Information Centre at:
- 1-800-565-4923 (toll free)
- 416-326-9236 (TTY)
- 1-855-515-2759 (TTY)