Proposed Legislation could help illegal dumping problem in Clearfield County

Morris Township, Clearfield County, Pa. - Another sign is hung, as the land just off of Gray Hallow Road in Morris Township is posted. 
It's a process Clearfield County Solid Waste Enforcement Officer Chuck Haines says is becoming all too common, "this last 6 months, everything's getting posted." 

The 400 acres of land is used for hunting and atv riding. However, about a quarter mile back from the road it has become an illegal dumping ground. 

Haines says it's hard to track the perpetrators, "either they get evicted or they just don't have the money to get rid of the stuff."

 

 


 
More than 17 tons of trash have been pulled from areas like the area in Morris Township. Haines says he can't keep track of it on his own. Instead, he reaches out to ATV riders in the area, to keep watch over the trails. 

"They see something going on they either take pictures with their cell phones or they get a plate number," explains Haines.

One of the watchers is Don Smith, who lives just down the road from what has become the dumping ground. "It's hurting everyone who wants to use the land for atv riding, hunting, shooting," says Smith. 

The father of six says he had to stop bringing his children with him while riding. "There's trash glass nails everywhere all over the place it's not even safe for us to be on." 

Haines says the reason the dumping is an ongoing problem is because the penalties aren't strict enough. Right now there's 50 dollar fine in the county if caught dumping.  Smith says it doesn't give them the incentive to stop, "you block off an area, and they just find somewhere else to dump." 

However, a bill in the senate may help. If passed it would enact heavier penalties. 

"It goes off the poundage. If you have anything from zero to five pounds, that's a $300 fine automatically, anything over 5 to i think 20 it's like a $500 citation," explains Haines. 

The enforcement offer says that money would then go towards clean up costs for the county. The costs can be steep, with an estimated $7,000 needed to help clean up the area just off of Gray Hallow Road. 
 


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