TORONTO, Ont. — Trucks carrying Toronto’s garbage to the U.S. were stopped at border crossings overnight, city officials and carriers reported earlier today.
The stoppage came as a result of stepped up security in the face of the mad cow scare plaguing Alberta, officials speculated.
"We found out when we got a call from one of our operating companies at about 6 p.m. saying they weren’t being allowed through," Wilson Logistics president Kevin Devine reported earlier today. (Wilson Logistics manages Toronto’s cross-border garbage hauling.)
"But then we got to start hauling again this morning."
Trucks were allowed to start crossing the border again at about 11 a.m., said Angelos Bacopoulos
general manager of solid waste management services for the city of Toronto.
"From what I understand, U.S. agriculture imposed a ban on the import of our garbage, because of what’s been going on in Alberta. They may have been trying to prevent contaminated animal feed from getting through."
The situation was resolved when Wilson Logistics and Republic Services, the U.S. waste management company importing the garbage to the Carlton Farms landfill site 20 miles south of Detroit contacted Canadian Food Inspection Agency officials, said Bacopoulos.
"Our guys contacted their guys and then the ban was lifted," he explained. He estimated about 70 to 100 loads (at 35 metric tons per load, or 1.1 million metric tons per year) move across the border from the city of Toronto every day.
Devine put that number at closer to 130 loads.
Either way, the backlog of loads would have been manageable for only one and a half days, said Bacopoulos.
"We have enough storage space at our transfer stations to last that long," he said. "After that we would have had to find somewhere else to put it."
He added border crossings for trucks were that much slower in Ontario today, thanks to the over night stoppage and stepped up border inspections due to the mad cow scare.
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