Illegal Dumping Victim on the Hook to Pay for Cleanup

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Fueled by debris, a red hot fire burned through the night on the property of A-Plus Powerwash on South Keyser Avenue in Taylor.

The state Department of Environmental Protection said this is exactly what it has been trying to prevent since August, when the agency discovered piles of junk illegally dumped in at least seven locations across three counties.

Officials believe all of the piles came from a company in the Lehigh Valley.

Investigators believe the owner A-Plus Powerwash allowed the construction debris to be dumped there without a permit, and then ignored an order to remove it.

"Wasn't cleaned up and last night's fire is the result, the sad result," said DEP spokesperson Colleen Connolly.

One of the other heaps of junk can be found in Carbon County, at Bob Snyder's tire shop in Lehighton. He has been watching it for weeks and waiting.

"You throw trash out of your car, a cigarette pack, it's a $300 fine. Here we are a month later, we haven't heard anything," Snyder said.

Snyder said he looked at invoices in the pile and believes the debris originated on Long Island. Now he just wants it to go away.

"It makes me sick that they would do that. This is a big load of garbage. You just pull over, put your truck up, and dump garbage?" Snyder said.

The pile contains trash ranging from a Jackie Collins novel to a slide from a swimming pool. But Snyder said the dirtiest part of the deal is that he is supposed to pay to clean it up.

"The responsibility for the clean up belongs to the property owner even though they are the unfortunate victim of this. It's their property. The pile is on their property. It is their responsibility to clean it up. That is the sad reality of this," said Connelly.

Snyder's been told the job will cost him about $4,000. It's a lot of money to shell out for someone else's trash.

"4,000 is 4,000. We are going to try to recover it somehow, but I can't leave it here all winter. I have to clean it up."

Police in Carbon and Schuylkill Counties have been investigating the illegal dumping in and around the Lehighton area, but so far no charges have been filed.

As for the junk that was dumped in Taylor, the DEP said it will continue pressuring the property owner to clean it up and could eventually fine him.


  • Bill

    This is a pretty significant crime and instead of the state police hiding in the bushes waiting to pull over a car for rolling through a stop sign, or changing lanes without a signal (I am not condoning this behavior), why don’t they spend a day or two to track down the offending dumpers and fine or jail them.,

  • K

    If you own the property, protect it…don’t depend on someone else to fix your problems…
    If I was looking at a $4000.00 bill to remove the trash, I might light it on fire…
    DEP should stop waiting around for trash piles to catch on fire, fine them, twice the cost of the clean up… that will get them moving!! Nothing like sucking in smoke from a illegal trash pile…

  • Lizzy

    I think it is ridiculous and sad that these poor people are responsible for cleaning up this trash that they didn’t ask or want to have dumped on their property. Technically it is littering and by the truck load. I think that the police and D.E.P should investigate these incidents and get to the bottom of who ever is doing it then have them clean it the up or pay for it to be cleaned up. If this was my property, I’d be so devastated. I don’t have 4000.00 and I am sure that guy doesn’t either so what would the D.E.P expect me to do then, FINE me for not having money to able to clean it up? Ridiculous. The D.E.P should figure out who is doing this or get it cleaned up for the VICTIM. The property may be his but the trash isn’t. How does all this make since to them? I can see if they were unsure whether it belonged to the victims or not, but since its happening everywhere clearly it is not the landowners wrong doing. I know its not the D.E.P’s trash either but I am sure they have the resources for this unlike the poor victims working a 9-5 trying to make a living.

    • Sam

      Chester I believe you may have misunderstood. Ms. Connolly made a statement saying “The responsibility for the clean up belongs to the property owner even though they are the unfortunate victim of this. It’s their property. The pile is on their property. It is their responsibility to clean it up. That is the sad reality of this,”. Although in typical WNEP fashion, it was a spelling / grammatical error, and they quote Snyder rather than Connolly as saying this.

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