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Ottawa hiring trash inspectors to watch for illegal dumping at launch of 3-item garbage limit

The city of Ottawa will be deploying trash cops to monitor for illegal dumping, when the new three-item garbage limit is introduced this fall.

Four new positions will be created this year for Ottawa Bylaw Services and Solid Waste Services to monitor illegal dumping through the transition period to the new three-item limit. The plan includes staff proactively monitoring waste in parks for potential illegal dumping, with Solid Waste Inspectors and Bylaw Services officers tasked with following up and issuing possible fines.

Staff anticipate a “temporary increase” in illegal dumping when the new limit on household waste is introduced on September 30.

“A temporary increase in illegal dumping is anticipated with any updates to curbside waste collection, which tapers off in the first three to six months with proactive monitoring, education, and enforcement,” said a report for the environment and climate change committee.

Two temporary positions were approved in the 2024 budget to support enhanced monitoring for illegal dumping in parks, while two additional Bylaw Services positions will be created to watch for illegal dumping at commercial and private properties.

The city will have Parks and Recreation Staff monitor the city’s 1,004 parks for possible illegal dumping once the new three-item limit is imposed.  Under the approach for monitoring illegal dumping, parks collection staff will watch for an increase and solid waste inspectors will escalate and follow up with residents.

“If illegal dumping is found, Parks collection staff in Solid Waste Services will escalate the call to a Solid Waste Inspector, who would go on-site, search for identifying information, document findings and begin the escalation process,” staff say.

“This would begin with a Notice of Violation if staff can identify where the waste was generated, and graduate to fines for repeat offenses, and would take the discarded waste with them for proper disposal.”

The fine for illegal dumping ranges from $205 for illegal garbage in a park bin to a minimum of $500 for illegally dumping in a park. Fines for dumping on private properties is $300.

Bylaw Services Director Roger Chapman told the committee on Tuesday the city would need permission from the Ontario government to increase the fines.

“This is a deliberate action,” Coun. David Hill said. “This isn’t like driving through a speed camera where you make an oopsie. You purposely take a bag of garbage, you put it in your vehicle and you drive three blocks away and you throw it in the bushes.”

The City of Ottawa’s education campaign ahead of the launch of the three-item limit this fall will include information on illegal dumping.

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