Chatham Incinerator

Category Exploration Date Status Province / State Country
Infrastructure Abandoned Ontario Canada

The first stop on my long-weekend trip was to explore an abandoned garbage incinerator in the town of Chatham, Ontario. There was very little reliable information on the history, when it was built, when it was decommissioned, etc., but it appeared to be an interesting enough place to check out.

Buried in dense woods, the two tall stacks betray its location to me as the GPS gets brings me as close as I can drive. I step out into the morning sunshine, already beginning to get warm and I shoulder my pack to find a path I'm sure the locals must have made to this place.

Within a few short steps from the railway tracks, I beat a hasty retreat as I encounter an almost impenetrable wall of ravenous mosquitoes who clearly haven't had a decent meal in weeks.

A quick dose of Muskol at my truck and I'm back on track.

When I entered the woods along the well-worn path, it was difficult to imagine that this place had been in use at any time in the recent past. As I moved carefully around, the amount of rusted metal laying everywhere kept me mindful of where I placed my feet.

The incinerator itself was a sight to behold... for someone of my interests. But the areas I found behind it, and surrounding it, were an ecologist's nightmare. Rusting drums were everywhere, in some cases surrounded by concrete foundations, in others, left out in the open alone. I have no idea if those drums ever held contents but, if so, they had long since dumped their cargoes, perhaps into the soil below.

While I am always glad for places such as this to explore, and while I have, of course, wandered places that many might consider to be environmental hazards, this was, in my considered opinion, one of the worst. It's insidious, however, in that it's cloaked in thick, green foliage that makes it appear so benign.

Tread carefully if you visit here.


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