Category Archives: Press Releases

Illegal Dumping on the Rise in Pennsylvania: Report it to Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful

(April 29 2020) – Since stay at home orders were issued on April 1 due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful has received 73 reports identifying illegal dumpsites in 35 different counties across the state. Fourteen percent of the sites are located on state park, state forest, or game lands.

The 73 reports make up 70% of the reports received by the organization so far this year. The increase in dumping could be a result of temporary suspension of trash hauling and recycling services citing worker safety and other limitations. Bulky waste pick-ups and special collections of electronics, tires and appliances have also been postponed until late summer or fall, increasing the problem.

The most frequent item reported was household trash, which was found at 47 sites, followed by tires at 31 sites. Other items reported were appliances, electronics and building supplies, such as demolition and construction waste.

Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful, a statewide nonprofit, is asking Pennsylvania residents to help locate and report illegal dumping and/or graffiti as part of their Illegal Dump Free program at https://illegaldumpfreepa.org/report-it/.

“Litter and dumped trash poses a threat to the environment as well as to those who clean it up. Documenting illegal dumpsites is a critical step in educating people about illegal dumping on our lands and waters and ultimately in helping to restore the natural beauty of our state. Please be a good steward and if you see an illegal dumpsite, report it,” said Shannon Reiter, President of Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful.

Dumpsite information will be logged and shared with local enforcement authorities, as well as local affiliates, state agency partners and other partners. Photos can be included in the report. Contact information of those reporting a site will be kept confidential.

Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful also offers a security camera loan program to curb illegal dumping by exposing those who commit this crime. The program offers three concealable, lockable cameras and accessories that capture usable, conviction-worthy footage of license plates and illegal dumpers – even at night. For more information visit https://www.keeppabeautiful.org/illegal-dump-free-pa/ or contact Rob Dubas at rdubas@keeppabeautiful.org or 724.836.4121 ext. 107. The program is available to municipalities, state agencies and nonprofit organizations.

“With the help of Pennsylvania residents we can document what’s out there and reduce the amount of new dumping. We also want to reassure our volunteers that we are busy planning and preparing for the post-pandemic cleanups that are sure to come once restrictions are lifted. We’ll have a lot of catching up to do,” said Reiter.

Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful’s Pick Up Pennsylvania, in support of the International Coastal Cleanup is tentatively planned for September 1 through November 30. Information on the availability of cleanup supplies and supply distribution details will be communicated as they become available. Registration will tentatively open on August 1 at www.keeppabeautiful.org.

Last spring, 7 million pounds of trash and recyclables and 19,082 tires were removed from Pennsylvania roads, trails and waterway through the Pick Up Pennsylvania spring program.

Anyone wishing to support future cleanups can make a donation on our website by clicking on Donate Now or by contacting Barb Christner, Director of Development at bchristner@keeppabeautiful.org or 724.836.4121, ext 114.

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About Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful

Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful’s mission is empowering Pennsylvanians to keep our communities clean and beautiful.  Since 1990, Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful and its volunteers have removed over 147 million pounds of litter from Pennsylvania’s roadways, greenways, parks, forests, and waterways. To learn more about Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful, visit www.keeppabeautiful.org.   

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Cameras Catch Illegal Dumping at Recycling Center in Millersburg Borough, Dauphin County

(January 28, 2020) – Leaving items at recycling facilities that are not accepted is considered theft of service or illegal dumping. Illegal dumping not only encourages more dumping and is detrimental to the environment, but it also brings a financial burden to our local municipalities, as they are often the ones left to clean up the mess. In turn, this costs taxpayers money. Non-acceptable items also cause additional work for employees and can potentially contaminate other materials. This contamination can make otherwise appropriate items now unacceptable for recycling, thereby reducing revenue for the municipality. Many drop off centers across the state have been forced to close due to illegal dumping, impacting services for all who rely on that facility.

Cameras installed through the Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful camera loan program recently captured someone illegally dumping several pieces of electronics at a Millersburg Borough recycling center in Dauphin County. They were cited for illegal dumping and were ordered to pay a fine and restitution. This restitution helps offset the price the municipality, and by extension taxpayers, pay to properly dispose of what dumpers have left.

In Dauphin County, many unwanted electronics can be taken to the Dauphin County Recycling Center. There are small fees for some items, but most are free. This facility is open to Dauphin County residents, businesses, institutions, and local governments. To find a recycling facility near you, contact your county recycling coordinator or visit the PA Department of Environmental Protection’s page on electronic recycling for consumers. However, before taking items to any location, it’s best to contact them in advance to verify what they accept.

Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful has worked with the Borough of Millersburg for almost 4 years through the Illegal Dump Free PA surveillance camera loan program. This fruitful partnership has resulted in seven successful prosecutions resulting in over $3000 collected in fines and costs. However, only a small portion of those fines and costs were held locally to cover municipal costs. The program is open to municipalities, counties, government agencies, as well as non-profit organizations. The grant includes the loan of a set of three high quality, motion activated, covert security cameras that provide instant wireless transmission of site activity, photo documentation of license plates at speeds of up to 50 MPH, and clear photos of activity day or night, which are key to prosecutions. Visit illegaldumpfreepa.org or contact Rob Dubas at rdubas@keeppabeautiful.org to find out more.

About Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful

Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful’s mission is empowering Pennsylvanians to make our communities clean and beautiful. Since 1990, Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful and its volunteers have removed over 141 million pounds of litter from Pennsylvania’s roadways, greenways, parks, forests, and waterways. To learn more about Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful, visit www.keeppabeautiful.org.

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Trash bag dumper fined in the City of Reading

(December 20, 2018) – Wilfredo Soto Torres (age 56) was cited by City of Reading Police Officer Devin Hasenauer for illegally dumping a large number of black plastic bags on 9/24/18.  Soto Torres was found guilty by Magisterial District Judge Kyley L Scott of depositing waste on a roadway in the City of Reading and paid a fine of $300 plus costs for a total penalty of $416.50.
“I am glad to be working with Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful on this program,” says Kevin Lugo, Sustainability & Solid Waste Manager for the City of Reading. “Illegal dumping puts litter in our neighborhoods, can be a health hazard, and costs the city thousands of dollars to clean up. Dumping is an eyesore in our community and directly affects residents and businesses who find garbage piled on their property. Our community does not tolerate illegal dumping. If you witness illegal dumping or find a dump site, please let the City know by reporting it through iRequest or calling 877-727-3234.”

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Two Men Cited on Crackdown of Illegal Dumping in the City of Arnold

(December 14, 2018) – Mitchell C Swann (age 53) and Harold J Lee (age 52) were both cited by City of Arnold code officer Scott Ponteri for illegal dumping.  Swann was found guilty of scattering rubbish for dumping debris from a contractor job into an abandoned lot on 9/13/2018. He paid a fine and cleaned up his trash.  Lee was found guilty of dumping furniture and other household items on 9/26/18.  He paid a fine plus $150 restitution to reimburse the city for removing what he had dumped.  Both cases were heard by the Honorable Frank J Pallone, Jr.

According to Officer Ponteri, “The cameras are working as a great deterrent and dumping has decreased at the site.  We’re happy to be working with Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful to turn around the dumping problem the city has been dealing with the past few years.”  In addition to the KPB camera loan, Officer Ponteri and the city of Arnold have stepped up other efforts to curb trash, including deploying additional cameras at different locations that had been donated by a resident.

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Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful Welcomes Staff to Coordinate Illegal Dump Free PA Initiative

(June 13, 2018) – Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful is pleased to announce the new hire of Rob Dubas who joined the team as a Program Coordinator.  Dubas will help facilitate their Illegal Dump Free PA initiative across the state, working with local governments, communities, and enforcement agencies to identify and hold accountable individuals and businesses that choose to dump their trash illegally. IllegalDumpFreePA.org is an innovative program launched in 2015 that provides surveillance camera loans, training and support to Pennsylvania municipalities and community groups.

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Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful and Elk County Solid Waste Authority to Host Municipal Waste, Recycling and Enforcement Forum in Elk County

(May 1, 2018) – Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful and Elk County Solid Waste Authority are hosting a forum on May 31 for regional, state and local officials to share ideas concerning the management of waste and recycling and enforcement of illegal dumping and littering in Pennsylvania. Those who should attend include municipal and county officials, recycling coordinators, enforcement partners and interested community stakeholders that are working to address proper management of waste and recycling in their communities.

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Keep America Beautiful Recognizes Pennsylvania Environmental Officer with National Law Enforcement Award

(February 5, 2018) – Keep America Beautiful, the nation’s iconic community improvement nonprofit organization celebrating its 65th anniversary in 2018, presented Edward “Todd” Ottinger, a Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Ranger, with a 2017 Environmental Officer Award at Keep America Beautiful’s National Awards Ceremony. The National Awards were presented during Keep America Beautiful’s recent National Conference in Dallas, Texas.

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Keep America Beautiful Recognizes Pennsylvania Environmental Officer with National Law Enforcement Award

STAMFORD, Conn. (Jan. 23, 2018) – Keep America Beautiful, the nation’s iconic community improvement nonprofit organization celebrating its 65th anniversary in 2018, presented Edward “Todd” Ottinger, a Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Ranger, with a 2017 Environmental Officer Award at Keep America Beautiful’s National Awards Ceremony. The National Awards were presented during Keep America Beautiful’s recent National Conference in Dallas, Texas.

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Four Pittsburgh Men Cited for Illegal Dumping – Evidence Acquired from Loaned Cameras from Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful

(August 15, 2017) – Four men from the Pittsburgh area have been cited for illegally dumping trash in Allegheny County.  Brian Sindorf (37) of East McKeesport, and Eric Ruble (47) of Wilmerding were cited for Littering and Scattering Rubbish by Officer Michael Havens, Jr. of Allegheny County Police.  Sindorf was fined $296, Ruble was fined $445, while the other two men are awaiting summary trial.

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Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful Welcomes Staff to Coordinate Illegal Dump Free PA Initiative

(February 23, 2016) – Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful is pleased to announce the new hire of Aaron Semasko who joined the team to help facilitate their Illegal Dump Free PA initiative across the state.  Semasko will work with local governments, communities, and enforcement agencies to identify and hold accountable individuals and businesses that choose to dump their trash illegally, through IllegalDumpFreePA.org, an innovative program launched in 2015 that provides surveillance camera loans, training and support to Pennsylvania municipalities and community groups.

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