EATON — National Trail Local School District had to remove its Preble County Solid Waste District recycling bins in mid-August due to an ongoing illegal dumping issue. According to PCSWD Assistant Director Beth Wright, this has been an issue at various different recycling sites throughout Preble County.
In order to keep the public recycling sites, Wright has been working to brainstorm solutions to the illegal dumping problems, including surveillance and prosecution of violators. However, the problem has continued.
Both Wright and National Trail Superintendent Bob Fischer would like to see the recycling bins returned to the district. The two met with the Preble County Commissioners on Wednesday, Sept. 11, to propose a fence around the bins, limiting access to the site for daylight hours only.
“I’ve been watching over the last few months our issue of contamination at National Trail. Those bins went away about mid-August. Reasons being, all of the trash being deposited. It was becoming an issue, even with stuff laying around the bins. I decided to temporarily remove them. I get a call, probably every other day about where those bins went and where they [should] take their [recyclables] now,” Wright said.
Fischer added, the district had inquiries as well, especially immediately following the removal of the bins.
“That being said, we are kind of at the point where we have to decide if we want them back and how we want the site to look,” Wright said. “More than one consideration on that. Of course, budgets are coming up, so if we make a decision it is going to effect the budget. If they come back, an enclosure would be very nice to have.
“It would probably cut down on some of the illegal dumping. The biggest issue that might help would be limited hours. That is the first time we’ve ever taken a site and done limited hours. The enclosure, having the locked gates and opening during the school day, may help the stuff that goes on as the sun goes down.”
She received three quotes for the fence and looked into the office’s budget and where the funds could be located. Wright noted, the PCSWD no longer holds a tire event and does not have to allocate for those funds.
“You’ll notice, what we used to allocate for [the tire event] is about the cost of what the fencing would be,” she said.
National Trail School District is allowing Preble County Solid Waste District to tie into its camera system, allowing for prosecution of violators. They are also willing to have their custodians open the proposed gate every morning and close the gate as it gets dark.
Fischer added, they are looking into adding a camera that would have a clearer picture. In fact, Director of Facilities Brian Pool is discussing putting a filter on the camera.
“One of the issues we run into, whenever we try to look at something outside, is we can’t always see the clarity of the license plate,” Fischer said.
“[High definition cameras] are very expensive, trust me,” Commissioner Chris Day said.
“We’re going to try to put as many preventative measures in as we can. The other step would be, at the end of the day one of our second or third shift custodians would shut the gate,” Fischer said. “We’re prepared to take part in all of that. Is it going to 100 percent stop it, no, but it will deter it a little bit. I think, unfortunately, you have to catch somebody to get people to realize what is going to happen.”
However, Commissioner Rodney Creech questioned if it would be money better spent to take the $13,000 for fencing and spend it, instead, on surveillance equipment to prosecute violators.
Fischer explained, by putting the fence up they would be limiting physical access to the bins as well, as the fence would block the back of the bin. To access the bins, the violator would have to move within camera view.
He added, there is already a camera on the site, but they hope to increase the quality.
Wright added, the Solid Waste District is trying to eliminate a lot of the illegal dumping. She hopes to use National Trail as a test site for using enclosures for limiting access to the recycling bins.
“It is not just the dollar figure that you’re looking at for the fence. Because of our Solid Waste Plan, there are some issues coming up where we do not want to lose too many more of our public recycling sites. The reason being, I talked with GT [Environmental] yesterday and explained the fact that we’ve had to remove some sites. They explained, under our last Solid Waste Plan we got grandfathered into a more generous plan, where we don’t have to meet as high public recycling rates as we will for the next one. That will come within three and a half years,” she said.
“I had her run some numbers for us and it would become concerning if we lost many more of our public recycling sites.”
Commissioner Day asked who would insure the fence. Fischer responded, National Trail would be responsible since it would be on district property.
Commissioner Denise Robertson asked about access for those who work during the weekday and are only off in the evening and weekends. Fischer responded, the bins would be accessible Monday through Saturday until dark.
Wright said she would converse with Engineer Kyle Cross regarding how this would affect the Solid Waste District’s budget. Fischer asked what they were looking at timewise and Commissioner Day responded they would talk with Cross first before coming to a decision.
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH