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County commissioners help Londonderry Twp. crack down on illegal dumping

 

Officials in Londonderry Twp. expressed gratitude to Dauphin Co. Commissioners in assisting with the cleanup of an area in the township.

The recent cleanup of the former 230 Diner site in Londonderry – paid for with a $2,126 restitution order issued in February against the owner, who also paid a $500 fine – is an example of how the county’s anti-dumping efforts are helping communities, said Commissioner Mike Pries.

“Cracking down on illegal dumping is one way to improve the quality of life for residents,’’ Pries said. “When we learn of a dumpsite, we investigate to see if we can determine who is to blame and then prosecute those responsible.’’

Londonderry Township Manager Steve Letavic said without the county’s help the township may not have had the resources to pursue the owner in court and get the site cleaned.

“We struggled trying to get the property into compliance and the county gave us the tools we needed,’’ Letavic said. “The partnership we have with the county commissioners allowed us to be successful in this area and many others.’’

Since 2013, anti-dumping efforts spearheaded by the commissioners have resulted in the collection of almost $60,000 in fines and the investigation and cleanup of numerous sites throughout the county.

In 2013, the county collected $40,000 in fines from illegal dumpers and haulers illegally taking trash outside the county and $24,000 in fines were collected in 2014, with an additional 23 cases pending.

Under the county’s illegal dumping ordinance, violators can face up to a $1,000 fine and 10 days in jail per incident. All illegal dumping and hauling cases are brought before District Magisterial Judge Kenneth A. Lenker.

Ensuring trash haulers use the Harrisburg facility is important because under the agreement with Lancaster County Solid Waste Management Authority, Dauphin County is expected to deliver 126,650 tons of municipal trash. If the county fails to meet the contracted tonnage, disposal fees could increase. Investigation of illegal dumpsites and hauling violations are handled by county Waste Enforcement Officer Gino Santamaria, the former police chief for Royalton and a decorated Army veteran.

“Fighting blight is a priority and illegal dumping is one factor that can cause a neighborhood to start deteriorating,’’ said commission Chairman Jeff Haste. “It’s not right that those with no respect for anyone else use our communities as a trash barrel.’’

Commissioner George P. Hartwick III urged residents to report anyone they see illegally disposing trash.

“If you see someone dumping garbage in your neighborhood, try to get the license plate of their vehicle and report it to the county,’’ Hartwick said. “We all have to play a part in keeping our neighborhoods clean.

Anyone who sees illegal dumping can report it by calling the Dauphin County Recycling Center at 717-982-6772.