Long-time Yolk Region residents will never forget the god-awful stench that enveloped the Keele Valley landfill from 1983 to 2002. During the 19-year-long big stink, Keele Valley was transformed from an idyllic gravel pit into a 28-million ton mountain of garbage, chemicals and bio-medical waste.
Even after the facility closed in 2002, locals continued to gag on the exhalations of methane and hydrogen sulphide that belched from the mountain’s belly. For the past few years, however, the dump has been fairly stable — stable enough to give area developers confidence to build thousands of homes and a golf course right next to it. A local energy concern has even been drawing millions of cubic metres of methane out of the dump to power several large generators — Keele Valley garbage just keeps on giving.
In 2011, a new era in the dump’s history is set to begin when a group of Ontario archaeologists begins drilling hundreds of holes in order to recover artifacts. “We’re totally stoked about what we might find” said Jarred La’Roque, a 4th year archaeology student and volunteer member of the team. After drilling three test cores last September, the so-called “Treasure Hill Team” recovered three-thousand feet of cassette audio tape and some of the oldest VHS recordings on the planet. “Once we drill down to the Disco era”, La’Roque added, “we hope to be dredging up vintage platform shoes, reams of day-glo polyester and a single large disco ball”.