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Public, Private Partners Unite to Clean Up Mountain of Waste at Illegal Dump
14,000 Tons to be Removed from Former Construction and Demolition Debris Facility in Franklin County
With a mountain of waste behind them stretching 20 feet high and covering about an acre of land, Ohio EPA Director Scott Nally, Franklin County Public Health (FCPH) Commissioner Susan Tilgner and Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio (SWACO) Executive Director Ron Mills announced today their agencies’ joint effort to help clean up the county’s largest illegal dump at 1388 Stimmel Road.
The removal of 14,000 tons of mostly construction and demolition debris (C&DD) began this week, thanks to a public-private partnership involving Central Ohio Contractors, Inc. (COC). To greatly reduce the estimated cost of the cleanup, the agreement between the multiple state and local agencies and businesses included various donations of money and in-kind services and the waiver of certain generation and disposal fees for solid and C&DD wastes. Donations included a grant from Ohio EPA for Franklin County Public Health to manage the cleanup; $40,000 from SWACO; $20,000 from FCPH; and $7,500 from Franklin Township.
“This public-private partnership is a great example of what can happen when everyone works together to solve a problem,” said Ohio EPA Director Scott Nally.
COC agreed to a fixed price to remove, transport and dispose of the waste – estimated at 700 truckloads. Within about a month, the C&DD will be disposed of at Frank Road Recycling Solutions, a C&DD landfill located in Grove City. The remaining solid waste, estimated at about 10 percent or 1,400 tons, will be taken to SWACO’s Franklin County Sanitary Landfill. The solid waste includes mattresses and other household trash.
“This cleanup will abate a nuisance and a threat to public health and the environment. Public health risks at sites like these include rodents, disease-carrying mosquitoes, fire hazards, potential water contamination and neighborhood blight,” added Franklin County Health Commissioner Susan Tilgner.
“The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office and members of the Environmental Crimes Task Force (ECTF) pursued the violator in this case for months. Their labors were matched by Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien’s Office whose skillful prosecution then led to one of the toughest sentences on record locally for an environmental crime,” SWACO Executive Director Ronald J. Mills said. “The amount dumped at this site was monumental, but so too was the cooperative spirit of the task force to make sure this would not go unpunished.”
SWACO manages and funds the ECTF whose mission is to reduce littering and illegal dumping through education and enforcement.
The task force investigated and prosecuted the case of the illegal open dumping that occurred from approximately December 2009 through May 2010 at the Regional Waste Solutions Transfer Division LLC (RWSTD) on Stimmel Road under operator Richard Fintak.
RWSTD began operating in April 2009 as a C&DD transfer station, where C&DD from smaller trucks was dumped and then reloaded onto larger trucks for delivery to a licensed C&DD landfill. At that time, an Ohio EPA inspector also observed that recyclables were being pulled from the debris pile and placed into containers stored on-site to be delivered to recycling facilities once full. It appeared the solid waste that was brought in incidentally with the C&DD was being immediately pulled from the pile and placed into a container on-site and later disposed of a solid waste disposal facility.
Ohio EPA tried to help bring RWSTD back into compliance by issuing several notices of violation and warning about enforcement action, but instead of cleaning up the site and operating legitimately, Fintak fled Ohio. The ECTF extradited him from Indiana, and Fintak pled guilty to felony charges of open dumping, operation of a solid waste facility and illegal operation of a landfill/transfer station in November 2011. When he failed to clean up the site as ordered by the court, Fintak was sentenced in April 2012 to three years in prison.
There is more information in an online media kit.
Report illegal dumping at www.itsacrime.org or call SWACO at 614-871-5322 or
Ohio EPA’s 24-Hour Emergency Spill Hotline at 1-800-282-9378.
The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency was created in 1972 to consolidate efforts to protect and improve air quality, water quality and waste management in Ohio. In the past 40 years, air pollutants dropped by as much as 90 percent; large rivers meeting standards improved from 21 percent to 89 percent; and hundreds of polluting, open dumps were replaced with engineered landfills and an increased emphasis on waste reduction and recycling. Ohio EPA -- 40 years and moving forward.