New Castle News

January 15, 2014

Trash still problem in Mahoning township

Nancy Lowry
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — They haven’t filed charges, but Mahoning Township officials continue to seek an end to illegal trash dumping.

At a meeting last week, Vito Yeropoli, supervisor chairman, said seven illegal dumpers had been identified and charges filed against them. He also said each one had produced an elderly relative who claimed the garbage had been left on their behalf, resulting in the charges being dismissed.

Not so, District Judge Jennifer Nicholson said. Nicholson, whose judicial district includes Mahoning Township, said last week, “We checked our files and no charges have been filed by the supervisors or their police chief, Jim Morris.”

Morris said Tuesday filing charges was one of several options he and the supervisors have discussed in their efforts to stem the increasing tide of trash dumped in the community.

“This has been a problem for at least the past 10 years,” he said.

The BFI landfill in Ohio collects refuse free of charge from three sites in the township as a community service because its landfill adjoins Mahoning. Only senior citizens and handicapped residents of the township — who must obtain a permit — may deposit garbage at any of the sites.

Morris said people other than those with permits are using the trash bins, but officials have been unable to identify or stop the abuses.

“It would not be feasible to station a police officer, even a part-time officer, at these sites to patrol who is dumping,” Morris said. “But we’ve tried other things.”

Two surveillance cameras were installed at the township building, possibly the most abused site.

“We identified people placing trash in the Dumpsters, but every time we investigated, we learned they were people who had valid permits or who were acting on behalf of someone who had a permit — their mother or grandmother, or some were paid caregivers of people who had permits to use the site. No one was ever cited.”

Morris said Yeropoli “misspoke” at last week’s meeting when he said otherwise.

Although BFI empties the bins each week, he said, “contributions” overflow the containers, preventing trucks from getting to the bins.

At last week’s meeting, the supervisors explained that the overflow prevents the BFI trucks from emptying the bins. If BFI cannot empty them, township crews must do so, along with cleaning up the overflow. The township employees then must haul that trash to a landfill, where a tipping fee is charged.

“So it not only takes their time” Morris said, but the township has to pay for leaving the trash.

“We believe that 90 percent of the illegal dumpers come from Ohio,” he added.

He noted that on Saturday afternoons, the bins may be half full, but each Monday morning they are overflowing.

“We’re trying to resolve this,” he said. “Vito has suggested several options, including providing colored trash bags to everyone who has a permit.”

Tuesday, Yeropoli reiterated it was his understanding that some violators had been charged.