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Clean Up Starts At Franklin County's Largest Illegal Dumpsite

The last of six illegal dumps in Franklin County is now being cleaned-up, but it will cost taxpayers $400,000. As workers remove debris and household trash from a Stimmel road site in southwest Franklin County, Ohio Environmental Protection Agency Director, Scott Nally, says work crews have a big job ahead. [wpgmza id="9"]
"I mean you're looking at somewhere in the neighborhood of 14,000 tons. It's going to have to be separated. The solid waste material will have to be pulled back out of it. Some of the material will be obviously recycled. We'll get a recuperated cost back on the recycled piece. But it's just a lot of labor." Says Nally The illegal waste is piled about 20 feet high over an entire acre of ground. Heather Robinson of the Franklin County environmental crimes task force says a so called loophole in Ohio law allowed the trash to accumulate. "The loopholes allow construction trash to sit on the ground. Whereas if this was regular household garbage it would have been illegal the first shovel full that hit the ground." Says Robinson. Robinson says it took surveillance to gain enough evidence to prosecute the owner of the dumpsite. "We had to actually see the trash coming in. And, on one particular day while the deputies were here a load of trash actually was brought in and dumped onto the ground. And that was what we needed, that's how we were able to file the charges." Says Robinson. Richard Fintak operated the dumpsite. He has since pleaded guilty to open dumping and other felony charges. He was sentenced to three years in prison after he failed to clean up the area. Franklin County Health Commissioner, Susan Tilgner, says the Stimmel road site is the largest illegal dump found in Franklin County in the past 20 years. While the clean-up will cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars, Tilgner says it will also eliminate some health hazards. "They also attract rodents and other kinds of animals that can spread disease. And also with these dumpsites, when it rains the water goes through these dumpsite and it can leach out contaminated chemicals that can get into the groundwater." Says Tilgner. The clean-up of the Stimmel road site will take about a month.