State, Local Agencies Come Together To Clean Up Illegal Dumping
Officials are cleaning up 14,000 tons of illegal waste dumped off of Stimmel Road in southwest Columbus.
State and local authorities have come together to clean up the county’s largest illegal dump.
Authorities said that the dump started as a legal transfer station for construction waste and at some point began operating as an illegal dump that began accepting household solid waste.
"There's a lot of nasty chemicals in solid waste that get washed into our rivers and streams or saturate into an aquifer and ends up in someone's drinking water,’ said Scott Nally, the Director of Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.
The result is one of the most costly clean-ups in central Ohio history.
On Thursday, local entities announced that they began cleaning up the dump with mostly taxpayer money.
Authorities said that the person responsible for the illegal dumping was nowhere to be found.
"When he was placed on parole he was never ordered to repay the restitution in the case which was $377,000,” said Assistant Franklin County Prosecutor Heather Robinson.
Richard Fintak was released from prison after serving five months of a three-year sentence. Prosecutors said that he has vanished, leaving taxpayers on the hook for his mess and investigators says they can't go after any of his assets because it appears he has none.
"No home, no cars, nothing. No bank accounts that we can find," Robinson said.
Investigators said dumps like the one on Stimmel Road could be more prevalent if lawmakers do not make changes.
“There are loopholes in Ohio that encourage mountains of trash like this one,” said Assistant Franklin County Prosecutor Heather Robinson. “If we can close these loopholes, that will allow local communities to go after piles like this when they first begin before they become a public health nightmare or a quarter million clean-up.”
Lawmakers say they plan to introduce legisltation this year that would allow the regulation of transfer station that deal with construction debris.
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April 6, 2012: Man Jailed For Operating Illegal South Side Junk Yard
August 25, 2011: Man Charged With Running 12-Acre Illegal Dump Site