Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful, a nonprofit organization, and the Washington County Court system’s Furlough Into Service program marked their 100th illegal dump cleanup in Washington County this fall.
The work completed by this partnership since 2011 has been funded through the state Department of Community and Economic Development and the Washington County Commissioners’ Local Share Account of gambling proceeds from The Meadows Racetrack & Casino.
Dumping grounds have existed throughout Washington County for decades, plaguing roadways, hillsides and streams.
In 2005, Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful’s Illegal Dump Survey identified 126 sites, containing an estimated 317 tons of trash that harms residents, wildlife and the landscape. Chemicals, asbestos and drug-related waste can potential impose the most risk.
To date, the partnership has removed 314,449 pounds of trash and 4,190 tires. Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful noted Waste Management and Bridgestone/Firestone provided free or reduced rates for the cost of the disposal of the trash and tires, according to a news release issued recently by Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful.
To deter dumping, signs noting high-tech surveillance cameras were erected at previously cleaned sites as well as random sites throughout the county. The cameras are capable of capturing license plate numbers and vehicle descriptions, day or night. Evidence gathered from the cameras was used to prosecute two individuals this year.
Stephen Edward Garrity, 22, of Bentleyville, and Dylan James Huseman, 24, of Washington were seen on surveillance cameras’ recording illegally dumping furniture and other refuse from the back of a pickup truck in South Franklin Township on April 4. State police charged them with scattering rubbish. In August, District Judge Ethan Ward fined the offender and ordered them to clean the site.
Last year, a Washington man pleaded guilty and was fined $3,000 plus $172 in costs for illegally dumping trash at three locations off Edgewood Avenue in Canton Township, where 83 tires and an estimated 20 tons of trash were later removed.
The website www.illegaldumpfreepa.org has information about community resources to fight illegal dumping. Questions regarding proper disposal of waste and recycling in Washington County can be directed by Jason Theakston, recycling coordinator for the Washington County Planning Commission, 724-228-6811, or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pennsylvania CleanWays merged in 2010 with Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful, which is an affiliate of Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful.
Since 1990, Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful and its volunteers have removed more than 113 million pounds of litter from Pennsylvania’s roadways, greenways, parks, forests and waterways. Its website is www.keeppabeautiful.org.