News

Illegal dumping draws ire from borough officials, state police

Written by Dale Heberling, Public Opinion Online | Sep 9, 2015 1:18 PM
illegal-dumping-600x256.jpg

Discarded trash is left in front of donation bins near Radio Hill and Scotland. (Submitted to Public Opinion Online)

(Franklin County) -- Illegal dumping of items like furniture, electronics and appliances at receptacles meant for the collection of clothing and small household items is getting a lot of recent attention.

A social media post by 103.7-FM News Director Michele Jansen has heightened awareness of the problem and drawn the attention of Pennsylvania State Police, Chambersburg.

Lt. Craig Bowman said his troopers have all been alerted to illegal dumping at receptacles that are typically situated in high traffic areas for the convenience of the public and the benefit of businesses that collect specific castoff items.

Bowman said state police are prepared to make arrests.

"We're willing to prosecute if we identify a cooperative victim," he said. "We've had a couple of investigations and the entire station has been alerted to the problem."

"We've had a couple of investigations and the entire station has been alerted to the problem."

--Lt. Craig Bowman, Pennsylvania State Police, Chambersburg 

Bowman urges anyone with information to call PSP at 717-263-5161.

Franklin County Crime Solvers also offer a reward for information leading to an arrest. Tipsters can remain anonymous. Phone 717-263-3000 or go to www.crimesolvers.tips

According to Jansen, the issue came to light after a discussion with staff at a sister radio station in Hagerstown, Maryland, where city officials considered outlawing the collection receptacles because of similar issues.

"We got to thinking about the conditions here in Chambersburg, and the next day (Chambersburg Borough Councilwoman) Elaine Swartz brought in a photo of all the trash at one receptacle. We posted it and the response from the public just took off," Jansen said.

Further pursuit led Jansen to Dineane Williams, operations manager at J and J Recycling in York. Her company maintains a receptacle near the post office on U.S. 30 in Fayetteville and at a half dozen other sites in the immediate area.

Williams said the Fayetteville location -- a receptacle clearly marked for clothing and shoes -- has been a recurring target of "nasty" illegal dumping, including filthy carpet, dirty furniture and electronic devices of all description.

The problem has cost J and J Recycling dearly she said.

"This is not someone with a good heart leaving this stuff," Williams said. "It's not meant to be a donation. It's trash and it's costing us so much time, labor and money to clean up."

She pointed to the accumulation of 3,000 pounds of junk at the Fayetteville site that took an entire day for the company's collection driver to clean up.

"That meant he was unable to make any collections of real donations that day," Williams said.

J and J Recycling is a for-profit company with a charitable component, Williams said.

"We're entrepreneurs, but we provide 20 percent of our proceeds to charities in our service area," Williams said. J and J operates inside a 100-mile perimeter around the city of York. Within the area, Williams said, only "six or seven" bins are a trash-dumping problem.

Williams worries that continuing issues with dumping could spur host property owners to withdraw their consent to allow the receptacles.

"People in the community have been supportive of us," she said. "They know we're local and they know what we do. State police have been great, too, and there's a small bounty in addition to the Crime Solvers rewards."

Jansen said 103.7 FM, along with a local business, have posted a $125 reward.

In addition to the Fayetteville location in Guilford Township, trash has turned up at receptacles on Radio Hill in Hamilton Township and in Scotland in Greene Township. Those receptacles are owned by businesses other than J and J.

Greene Township Zoning Officer Dan Bachman said he is unaware of the dumping that took place at a receptacle on Main Street in Scotland. He said if complaints come to the township, he believes the solid waste ordinance would hold the property owner responsible.

Hamilton Township Secretary/Treasurer Deb Hollenshead said the Radio Hill location is always cleaned up before township officials are alerted.

"It's covered by our nuisance ordinance, but we haven't had to send out any violation letters yet," she said. "The business that owns that receptacle called us to ask if we knew a better location, but we didn't."

Hollenshead said the township's ordinance would also hold the property owner responsible.

In Guilford Township, Supervisor Greg Cook said he was alerted to the dumping site in Fayetteville and that the situation has been discussed with the township solicitor.

"We think we could pursue this under our 'trashy property' ordinance, but it would be aimed at the property owner," Cook said. "We're well-aware of it, but we'll proceed cautiously."

Cook said the Fayetteville location was clean when he went there to take pictures.

"State police are aware of this," he said. "What we need now is another situation to set it (enforcement) back in motion."

The collection receptacle issue has not surfaced recently in the Borough of Chambersburg but has in the past, according to Borough Manager Jeffrey Stonehill.

"Chambersburg has found two separate enforcement issues with these donation boxes," Stonehill said. "First, we have had boxes placed on sidewalks inside the public right of way. That might be a violation of the borough's local law on sidewalks and, therefore, we have requested these violators remove their boxes and all have complied. Second, we have had boxes placed on private property like a parking lot. If not well-maintained, that would be a violation of the IPMC (International Property Management Code) and enforcement action has always resulted in compliance."

Formal adoption of the IPMC as part of the borough's maintenance is the basis for enforcement of borough laws against dumping, Stonehill said.

Neither Greene, Guilford or Hamilton townships have adopted the IPMC.

Dale Heberlig can be reached at 717-262-4811.


This article comes to us through a partnership between Public Opinion Online and WITF. 

Published in News

Tagged under , ,

back to top

Post a comment

Give Now

Estate Planning

Support for WITF is provided by:

Become a WITF sponsor today »

Smart Talk

National Edward R. Murrow Awards

DuPont Columbia Awards

Support Local Journalism

Latest News from NPR

Support for WITF is provided by:

Become a WITF sponsor today »