Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Keep PA Beautiful, Washington County Court Cleanup 100th Illegal Dump

Through a partnership initiated in 2011, Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful and the Washington County Court System Furlough Into Service Program celebrated their 100th illegal dump cleanup in Washington County this fall.
The work completed by this partnership is funded through the Department of Community and Economic Development, Washington County Commissioners – Local Share Account Fund.
Illegal dumpsites have existed throughout Washington County for decades, plaguing roadways, hillsides, and streams.  In 2005, Keep PA Beautiful’s Illegal Dump Survey identified 126 sites, containing an estimated 317 tons of trash.  
Negative environmental and economic impacts from illegal dumping affect citizens, wildlife, and the natural landscape.  Chemicals, asbestos, and drug-related waste could impose more elevated risks.
To date, the partnership has removed 314,449 pounds of trash and 4,190 tires.  A special thanks goes to Waste Management, Inc., and Bridgestone/Firestone who provided free or at reduced rate for the cost of the disposal of the trash and tires.
As a means of deterring subsequent dumping, surveillance signs and high-tech surveillance cameras have been erected at previously cleaned sites as well as random sites throughout the County.
The high-tech cameras are capable of capturing license plate numbers and vehicle descriptions in day or night. All evidence gathered from these cameras has been used to prosecute individuals to the fullest extent of the law.
The cameras have proved successful, as was the case earlier this year when Stephen Edward Garrity (6/27/1993) and Dylan James Huseman (11/28/1991) were captured by surveillance cameras illegally dumping furniture and other refuse from the back of a pick-up truck. The offenders were fined and charged with cleaning up the site.
In 2014, Robert Semulka (9/9/1967) from Washington, PA plead guilty and was fined $3172 for illegally dumping trash at three locations in Canton Township.
“We are grateful for our partnership with the Washington County Court System and this valuable program.  Illegal dumping in not only detrimental to the environment but also incurs costs for local municipalities for time and resources to clean these sites up, said Shannon Reiter, President of Keep PA Beautiful. “Our collective goal is a clean and beautiful Washington County.”
Visit www.illegaldumpfreepa.org for community resources to fight illegal dumping.
Questions regarding proper disposal of waste and recycling in Washington County can be answered by Jason Theakston, Recycling Coordinator, Washington County Planning Commission, at 724-228-6811, or by sending email to: theakstj@co.washington.pa.us.

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