Contractor pleads guilty to dumping; fines imposed

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A Washington contractor pleaded guilty last week before District Judge David Mark, who imposed the maximum fine, plus costs, on three counts of illegal dumping.


Chris Hammett, Canton Township code enforcement officer, said his township’s road crew found a notebook amidst trash that had been illegally discarded off Edgewood Avenue.


Hammet said Thursday he got in touch with customers through jobs quoted in the notebook four to five years ago. In February, he filed three counts of littering against Robert Semulka, 46, and online court records show that the district judge fined him $1,000 on each summary charge.


Since 2011, Washington County Court’s Furlough Into Service program, in partnership with Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful, has removed 261,000 pounds of trash and 3,200 tires from around the county. As a means of deterring illegal dumping, signs and high-tech cameras are being erected at previously cleaned sites as well as random sites throughout the county. The high-tech cameras, which are rotated around the county, are capable of capturing license plate numbers and vehicle descriptions, day or night. All evidence gathered from these cameras will be used to prosecute individuals to the fullest extent of the law.


“Although illegally dumping trash anywhere is wrong, the dumping along Edgewood Avenue in Canton Township is even more of an outrage since the organization has spent numerous hours bagging trash and slinging tires in preparation for proper disposal,” wrote Stephanie Larson in a news release from the Greensburg-based Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful. “So far, the crew has removed 83 tires and an estimated 20 tons of trash from this site alone.”


Hammett described Edgewood Avenue as a lower corner off Wylie Avenue near a cemetery, a wooded lot and ball field.


“It’s kind of a secluded area,” he said.


Questions regarding proper disposal of waste and recycling in Washington County can be answered by Jason Theakston, recycling coordinator with the Washington County Planning Commission, at 724-228-6811, or by email at theakstj@co.washington.pa.us.


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