EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSILLEGAL DUMP CLEANUP
from Eyewitness News Online
City, State Workers Team Up To Clean Up Open Dump
Reported by: Darrah Wilcox
Web Producer: Darrah Wilcox
Reported: Mar. 13, 2012 12:25 PM EDT
Updated: Mar. 13, 2012 5:46 PM EDT
Huntington , Cabell County , West Virginia
Huntington mayor Kim Wolfe was out surveying the cleanup of a massive illegal dump site in Huntington Tuesday morning. He says, "It's been a site that probably started slowly and kept multiplying so we're all here today to get it all cleaned up."
The illegal dump site stretches a couple hundreds yards underneath the 31st Street Bridge, and contains an estimated 36 tons of miscellaneous junk. Danny Haught, who's director of the Department of Environmental Protection's Rehabilitation Environmental Action Plan, or REAP, says, "It's very frustrating. It's something that we see all the time. You know, you try to keep up with it or stay ahead of it. It's tough."
Huntington city workers, Allied Waste, the DEP's REAP program, and volunteers with the Cabell County Day Report Center are pitching in to clear out the trash.
Haught says, "It's a cooperative effort and that's what we try to stress to everyone working together to clean up these illegal dumps." REAP says they've made a significant dent in the amount of sites in the past few years.
"I think you'll see the court system and officers taking more of an active role in imposing those penalties and I think it makes a difference," says Haught.
This program uses landfill fees to clean up illegal dumps and get evidence together to prosecute illegal dumping activity. It's estimated there are 15,000 open dumps across the state. Criminal penalties for having an open dump are up to a $50,000 fine and up to three years in prison. Civil penalties are fines of up to $5,000 an incident.
Mayor Wolfe says they will be actively looking for other illegal dump sites and they will hold anyone responsible accountable. He says, "If you know of any other sites, we're going to be very conscientious about getting them cleaned up. If anyone wants to give us an anonymous tidbit on other illegal dump sites, they can give us a call and we'd appreciate that too."
Haught says, "West Virginia is a beautiful state and we just try to impress upon why would you litter your own state? Protect and preserve your own environment and don't litter."
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