EATON — According to Preble County Solid Waste Management Assistant Director Beth Wright, Preble County is having major illegal dumping issues which are costing the county hundreds of dollars unaccounted for in the yearly budget.
During the Board of Commissioners meeting on Monday, July 2, Wright brought the issue up to the board, who responded, if the problem is not fixed through surveillance, public recycling bins will have to be removed.
“We are having major illegal dumping issues at our public recycling drop-offs,” Wright said. “I have attended some of the professional development (meetings) and apparently we’re not the only solid waste district having this issue. We’ve had to dump four or five loads of recycling as trash in the last few weeks.
“The trash rate is a higher rate than the recycling rate. For an eight-yard container is $60 a pull, whereas for recycling for an eight-yard container we only pay $113 a month. So it is costing more and more each time we have to pull as trash. If this rate continues, we’re looking at $700-$800 a month more on our Rumpke bill, which was not accounted for in our budget. This situation is the worst I’ve seen in awhile.”
Sanitary Engineer Bob Kohnen added, it is not just bags of trash, but rather large pieces of concrete (and other trash) are being dumped in the recycling dumpsters.
“Unfortunately, I don’t know why it is, but I’ve seen this,” Commissioner Chris Day said. “It is sad, but what happens if we do away with the recycling?”
Wright explained, she has to meet 90 percent recycling rate for Preble County. The district is currently at 126 percent, so they could lose some locations and still meet that required rate (because Eaton has curbside and it counts toward the rate). There has even been talk the required rate might drop to 80 percent, according to Wright.
“It is a shame that people ruin things for other people, but there is no reason for us to keep paying for this,” Commissioner Denise Robertson said. “We already pay for this to be recycling and then we have to pay more when its trash. We really have to look at this.”
Commissioner Day asked, “Where are your highest areas of offenses at? I think what we need to do is start eliminating some of them and [let the public know] that recycling bins are going to start disappearing because of illegal dumping.”
Wright answered, the City of Eaton and the Village of Camden are the two biggest offenders. However, instead of removing recycling bins, Wright suggested utilizing surveillance equipment to monitor the sites and catch offenders.
“Unfortunately, Camden and Eaton go a long way toward our access goal, because of their populations. We have to meet at least 80 percent and those are our two biggest sites,” Wright said.
Robertson suggested trying the surveillance option, but removing the recycling bins as a worst case scenario.
“My only caution is, how much resources are we going to throw at this and once we set a precedent, how are we going to handle that? I’m not opposed to this, but if we do it in one area, they’re going to expect it in others,” Day said.
“We also need to make sure the cameras are high enough quality that we can get the offender,” Commissioner Rodney Creech added.
Day added, “We just need to make sure we’re not doing something that we wouldn’t be willing to do for somebody else.”
In other business, Kohnen added, they finished reviewing the contract for Sewer District Six (SD6). As previously reported, the contract was slightly different from previous versions, so an addendum was sent back to CDM Smith for review and they are waiting for word from them.
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH