Contaminated Gravel Pits

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Disposal of Contaminated Fill in empty gravel pits

Much of Durham Region is on the Oak Ridges Moraine. This is a rich source of gravel which fuels the construction boom in Southern Ontario. The moraine is also the headwaters of all the rivers in Region.

Massive gravel pits are scattered throughout Uxbridge and Scugog and parts of Pickering, Whitby, oshawa and Clarington. When these gravel pits are spent (usually well below the water table), they are 'abandoned'. Some get purchased by shady operators who see that they can make a quick buck filling them back up. They charge a healthy price to dump 'clean' fill, and ask very few questions. While there are well defined 'regulations' as to the grades of fill that can be dumped, the regulations are only enforced if somebody complains.

Active gravel pits operate under provincial jurisdiction but when they run out they fall into the munical domain. Municipalities have neither the expertise nor the manpower to police them.

The result that some have become a dump sites for contaminated soil from building sites in the Toronto area. This is a potential threat to the ground water that feeds our rivers, threatens wildlife and even our drinking water.

There is a group of residents in Clarington who have been fighting such an operation fo a few years. They are Clarington Citizens for Clean Water and Soil. They have a facebook page at

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