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To report or not to report

| Scrap Business Ethics
  1. #1
    brokescrapper started this thread.
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    To report or not to report

    I was asked by a guy to come and see about getting rid of 2 large piles of scrap from his yard.

    There were 2 huge piles of scrap(piled by an excavator) probably 20 feet in diameter and about 20 feet high each.

    I spent 2-1/2 hours with this guy listening to him prattle on about this and that(not scrap related just a bored old guy I guess)

    So I tell him I will bring in an excavator and bins at my expense to get rid of the scrap(there were 2 complete pickups crushed in the piles as well).

    NOW he shows me this spot about 20 feet in diameter where the grass is dead and he tells me there is batteries and other toxic stuff buried there-I said nothing when he told me this and just gave a blank stare.

    The 2 piles of scrap and the toxic dump are at the top of a hill which runs downhill and into a creek bed.

    NOW I heard nothing from him for several weeks-he was going to call me so I could arrange the machine and the bins.

    I call him 3 weeks later and he says "my neighbour buried the piles with his excavator"

    Burying scrap here I know is illegal and certainly burying toxic waste is as well.

    My question/s are:

    1. Why did he lead me on and then screw me like that?

    2. Should I call the bylaw enforcement/DNR on this guy?

    If I blow the whistle on him he will most certainly get jail time AND forfeit his property.

    Being a nice guy, I hate making trouble and this is not sour grapes-I am genuinely concerned about the environmental impact as this creek runs downhill and drains into the ocean.



    Any suggestions?

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  3. #2
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    if you were so concerned about the environment, why didn't you say so "several weeks" ago, instead of waiting to see if you'd get his scrap ?



    Quote Originally Posted by brokescrapper View Post
    I was asked by a guy to come and see about getting rid of 2 large piles of scrap from his yard.

    There were 2 huge piles of scrap(piled by an excavator) probably 20 feet in diameter and about 20 feet high each.

    I spent 2-1/2 hours with this guy listening to him prattle on about this and that(not scrap related just a bored old guy I guess)

    So I tell him I will bring in an excavator and bins at my expense to get rid of the scrap(there were 2 complete pickups crushed in the piles as well).

    NOW he shows me this spot about 20 feet in diameter where the grass is dead and he tells me there is batteries and other toxic stuff buried there-I said nothing when he told me this and just gave a blank stare.

    The 2 piles of scrap and the toxic dump are at the top of a hill which runs downhill and into a creek bed.

    NOW I heard nothing from him for several weeks-he was going to call me so I could arrange the machine and the bins.

    I call him 3 weeks later and he says "my neighbour buried the piles with his excavator"

    Burying scrap here I know is illegal and certainly burying toxic waste is as well.

    My question/s are:

    1. Why did he lead me on and then screw me like that?

    2. Should I call the bylaw enforcement/DNR on this guy?

    If I blow the whistle on him he will most certainly get jail time AND forfeit his property.

    Being a nice guy, I hate making trouble and this is not sour grapes-I am genuinely concerned about the environmental impact as this creek runs downhill and drains into the ocean.

    Any suggestions?
    Not sour grapes? Yeah, right ; )
    Last edited by Bear; 11-26-2013 at 12:08 PM.

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  5. #3
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    Lesson learned. Sometimes people just want a visit, but when you are in business, always try to close the deal. Either that, or get your therapist certification so you can send a bill for your time listening to them.

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  7. #4
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    I don't know what to tell ya. Where I live there are piles like this being buried all the time with worse stuff than just auto batteries. In the country it is just easier and less time consuming to bury this stuff than actually hauling it in or having someone else do it. My uncle used to do this for people when he had his excavator, if a farm building was falling down you would dig a pit and push the building in it. sometimes you would burn them some times you would just bury them but when you did this you always went around and found anything that wasnt needed and in the way and was tossed in the pit as well including all kinds of scrap and toxic stuff. (I am not saying my uncle has ever buried toxic stuff just that was and still is a common practice out here).
    "The greatest danger to American freedom is a government that ignores the Constitution."
    -Thomas Jefferson

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    To report or not to report

    report him!

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  10. #6
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    Report? Depends. Will anything happen? Depends.

    I'm not so sure that the penalties are actually that severe. Especially in Canada. He would likely get presented with what would amount to an expensive fine....paying to clean up the mess. Properly. Overseen by the DNR wonks. If he was lucky enough that the effluent plume of the bad stuff leaching out of his crap pile in the groundwater has not moved off the property, then he could clean it up himself by choosing the most competitive contractors to do the job. If the crap had started running off his property, then the gov't boys would step in and get the job done and he would lose any control of the cost to clean it up.

    More to the point of reporting...I would think a gov't guy would see it as your word against his. And you have not seen anything being buried, but just were TOLD that it was buried. Would the gov't go through the expenses of going to a judge to get a search warrant, hiring a hoe to go out and dig to prove there was stuff there, and analysing what was found to see just how bad the whole mess truly is? For example, is there lots of groundwater in the area? Is it flowing quickly? Is the ground chemistry such that it would speed oxidation of the bad stuff so water can move it away? How much bad stuff is actually there? Was one motorcycle-sized battery buried or 100 large heavy equipment-sized batteries? Is the buried lead a bigger issue than buried steel? Finally, how busy is the local DNR? Do they have the equivalent of 20 Love Canals and a bunch of defunct steel mills and coal tar plants that they are handling? Then this item might be pretty small potatoes to them.

    Is there a law in your jurisdiction that says you must report something that is suspected was done that is against the law?

    All of these questions will colour the answer for this particular situation and the specific question (report or not?). For you, it comes down to your own moral compass.

    But don't be surprised if nothing happens if a report is made.

    Hope this helps,
    Jon.

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  12. #7
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    I'm guessing he took his friends excavator and "buried" it into a roll-off from the scrapyard ; )

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  14. #8
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    Why not make an anonymous phone call? Whether or not anything comes of it, at least it might make you feel better.
    Scrapper, Scrap Yard Worker, Horse farm worker, Cooler Puller and just plain ''tired''

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  16. #9
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    What's wrong with cleaning up a mess and making some dough?

    I'm never in favor of dropping the dime on somebody to the government unless there is immediate harm to someone.

    I am seriously annoyed when people say, "Turn him in!", without thinking of the repercussions to the individual.

    The government is going to do a better job without costing you more money?

    I highly doubt it.

    A giant corporation doing it on a huge scale?

    Yeah, turn those bastards in.

    Is anyone going to do anything about it?

    NOPE.

    But please, turn in the people who don't have the resources to defend themselves.

    That makes everything that much "greener" and will give you a warm fuzzy feeling in your tummy for your trouble.
    “An alcoholic is someone you don't like who drinks as much as you do.”

    -Dylan Thomas

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  18. #10
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    I see it like this. Two wrongs don't make a right. Just cause the big corps do it, doesn't mean the little guy should also. That's like robbing your buddy cause the banks robbed everyone else back in 08'.

    I'd ask straight up why he's burying it there, an if he realizes the damage he's doing to the ground, any water nearby, etc. If he was a jerk, got an attitude, or whatever for me asking, I'd politely point I was just curious his thinking, an coulda just told on him. lol. Then I'd think about taking it further, but I have a feeling it'd go like another poster said...nothing would be done.

    Folks can't complain an cry about injustice, then turn a blind eye to the same injustice being done in their back yard. It's like politicians an drugs. They all say publicly their against it. Yet they get caught smoking pot, snorting cocaine, smoking crack..( looking at you Marion Barry and the idiot Mayor in Toronto.) etc.

    Either way, at the end of the day, you gotta do what you feel is best. Simple as that. Some here are fine with it, others not so.

    An Primo, I hear ya buddy, but you reminded me of an old saying..."Can't do the time, don't do the crime." Whether that crime is dumping crap you know is bad for the ground, selling drugs, shooting people, etc. If you can't handle the consequences...perhaps you shouldn't be doing any thing illegal? I don't see it as the little man vs big company..I see it as either way, your both doing some thing wrong.

    Glad I live on a sandbar.

    Sirscrapalot - Behind every great fortune lies a great crime. - Honore de Balzac

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  20. #11
    Primo's Avatar
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    Well said Sir.

    I still have a hard time turning someone in.

    If the guy was breaking open batteries and dumping the acid in a lake or something, I would understand.

    An old guy not knowing the worth of scrap and most likely having a local government agency up his ass about the sight and deciding to bury it is another thing altogether.

    Certainly that's all speculation (just a likely scenario), and please don't think I'm some wacky anti-government person.

    I work hand-in-hand with local government.

    They've helped me out immensely.

    I've also seen locals oppressed by the same people sworn to protect them.

    Environmental laws are a double edged sword.

    I like to drink clean water.

    I also like to see small business owners and people just trying to get by able to eat without some jerk calling in the Feds to investigate.

    Just sayin'.

    I'm enjoying this friendly discourse btw.

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  22. #12
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    What most of yall seem to be overlooking is the OP is obviously posing this question, Not because he is actually "concerned" about the environment, but because he feels "jilted" due to not having been given the guys piles of scrap, and now he wants to get "even", and is here hoping for encouragement to do so. If not, why didn't he pose his question many weeks ago, Before he discovered the scrap was gone??

    He pestered the man for 2 and 1/2 hours for the scrap, and it's my guess the man knew for 2 hours and twenty five minutes of the conversation he would Not have it, and the only reason the man stayed there talking to him the other 2 hours and 25 minutes is because it was Not his option to leave
    Last edited by Bear; 12-01-2013 at 04:15 AM.

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  24. #13
    Sirscrapalot's Avatar
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    Primo, it's all good bud. I hear where your coming from. I can see your points, at the end of the day tho..I gotta call it as I see it.

    Bear...it's that old saying tho man, three sides to every story. His side, their side, an the truth. I didn't get what you did from the OP's post. I think that's more of me applying the old saying then anything else tho. I didn't detect any venom, he didn't just vanish into the ether like some folks would when they saw your reply. Nor did he argue back with ya. So till I hear the third side.."The truth" I can only go by my take. Of course if it's like you said, then well..poo on him. Unless some one can get the other guy on here, it's all moot really anyway.

    Then again I live on a sandbar. I don't have land here for people to bury stuff on. If they dump illegally they do it in the ocean. An if they get caught I don't want to be them. Coast guard ain't to keen on such things. They do it sound side, well..the folks who fish/crab for a living around these parts don't take kindly to such things.

    Sirscrapalot - Is renaming the scrap room the "Sirscrapalot fan club bar & Grill" till the quotes return to the top of the site.

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    You need your glasses checked SSA ; ) Seeing as how you missed all the little tiny small keys leading in to the story, lets just get down to the summation, and do a point by point,

    Quote Originally Posted by brokescrapper View Post
    My question/s are:

    1. Why did he lead me on and then screw me like that?

    2. Should I call the bylaw enforcement/DNR on this guy?

    If I blow the whistle on him he will most certainly get jail time AND forfeit his property.

    Being a nice guy, I hate making trouble and this is not sour grapes-I am genuinely concerned about the environment
    OK, here we go
    "1. Why did he lead me on and then screw me like that?"
    Who got screwed? How?

    "2. Should I call the bylaw enforcement/DNR on this guy?

    If I blow the whistle on him he will most certainly get jail time AND forfeit his property."

    Typical vindetta, hoping for some encouragement/support for frying the guy, and odds were possibly high as 50/50 he'd find some here, IF he "told" his story just right, but if you'll look closer the signs are clearly visible early on, by line 3 of the post his "better than thou&I'm gonna get you sucka" viewpoint is beginning to show.

    "Being a nice guy, I hate making trouble and this is not sour grapes-I am genuinely concerned about the environmental impact"
    "nice guy"?? How many threads have talked about "when someone has to TELL me how good/smart/Christian/insert-numerous-terms-here"??
    "Hate making trouble"? "NOT sour grapes"?? "genuinely concerned about the environment"??
    Bout ready to puke here man.

    Having been certified by the US Coast Guard as an Able Seaman Unlimited, I am well aware of the responsibility of citizens to report in a timely manner toxic waste dumps or spills, especially in open water, where I personally could see a fine of up to $25,000(in 1980 money) for failing to do so.
    I Do Not believe "3 weeks or so"(or "until I know if I'm getting his scrap") could possibly qualify as "timely". This post to me is clearly attempting to garner support for a personal vindetta, and I've personally seen enough of "this side"
    There is a "side" we'll never see, and that's too bad, because my first question of interest would be "hmmm, really?" - "I was asked by a guy"(which brings us back to line one ; )
    Last edited by Bear; 12-01-2013 at 12:01 PM.

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  27. #15
    Sirscrapalot's Avatar
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    Bear, we'll have to just agree to disagree.

    Sirscrapalot - Eh..no quote.

  28. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sirscrapalot View Post
    Bear, we'll have to just agree to disagree.
    Huh? Do What?? I'm not done gripin yet! hahaha, but, maybe later(there's got to be a moral to the story somewhere ; )

  29. #17
    Sirscrapalot's Avatar
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    Gripe away my friend. I have no dog in this contest and I always enjoy a good rant.

    Sirscrapalot - No quotes!

  30. #18
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    I actually don't have one here either SSA, nor would I recommend attempting to have a man prosecuted by the authorities for some dead grass because he felt jilted for not getting the mans scrap piles, nor would I believe from some dead grass there was actually enough there to prosecute(looked around a scrap yard lately? see any grass? what's the big deal with that? nothing!). The man owed him nothing, nor did he force him to hang around 2 and a half hours. As I said in my first post SSA, sour grapes is so totally obvious here I just don't see how you can miss it

  31. #19
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    Just curious here - what is the difference (from an environmental point of view) of the scrap being above ground or below ground? There's a bit less oxygen (so less oxidation), but I don't know of anything else difference-wise.

    If the local gov't was on his back about a scrap pile, they will probably be aware of whether or not it was buried I would think.

  32. #20
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    Waredu,

    I'm not an expert at this but it is my understanding that metals in the ground will "usually" oxidize faster because they are "usually" in the presence of water and soil chemistry that will aid in oxidation, such as acid or alkaline soil. This oxidation will dissolve in water and become mobile. I say "usually" because I see you are in Texas and I can think of situations where a piece if metal is buried out in the desert somewhere and won't hardly rust at all.

    The next issue, assuming that the soil is damp, is that groundwater is always moving. It may not move fast, but it responds to gravity and other forces so as the moisture moves past the buried scrap, it takes the oxidation products and carries them with it. So the scrap pile could be said to be moving. And given a large enough scrap pile and enough time or fast moving water, and you have contaminated a big area.

    Consider if you left the scrap pile above ground. Oxidation would still happen, but you don't have soil chemistry helping as much. You might be in an area where acid rain happens and that will speed up the process. Rain will wash this oxidation into the soil eventually. So burying the stuff just increases the speed that you contaminate the surrounding groundwater.

    Of course, the toxicity of the various metals is important, too. I don't think iron contamination is that big a deal, but some of the other metals can be nasty-like lead, cadmium, and the like as they are toxic at very low levels.

    I don't think the original poster indicated whether the guy had someone on his backside to clean up the scrap. But if it was a problem, and the gov't was aware of it, they would have a rectal hemorrhage if they knew he just buried it instead of cleaning it up properly.

    That's why, when industrial properties are sold nowadays, there can be a big environmental engineering study done on the land, which would most certainly include drilling test holes looking for contamination. I was involved in decommissioning a sawmill and while there wasn't anything buried we chased oil contamination down at least 30 feet in spots.

    Jon.

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