Illegal trash dumping fouls streams

November 15, 1994|By Donna E. Boller | Donna E. Boller,Sun Staff Writer

Whoever dumped carpet, wallpaper, paint cans and a pizza delivery box into an unnamed tributary of Turkeyfoot Run didn't intend to be caught.

"They even tore the name off the pizza box," said Robert A. King Jr., a county government water resources specialist who spotted the illegally dumped items as he drove along Brick Church Road near Westminster yesterday.

Mr. King said what he found yesterday is part of a pattern: More trash has been ending up in Carroll streams since higher fees went into effect July 1 at the county landfill.

The county water resources bureau hasn't kept a count, but Mr. King estimated that he has received an average of one call every two weeks since the landfill fees increased.

Reports of trash being dumped in streams before the fee increase came in "once in a while," he said.

Mr. King checks reports of trash being dumped in streams, looking for envelopes or other evidence to identify the source of the trash.

If the stream is on private property, he notifies the owner, who is responsible for removing it.

Half the streams in Carroll County flow into an existing or a planned reservoir, Mr. King said, "So anything that gets dumped into these streams could end up in the drinking water supply."

Dumping trash or garbage in streams violates the county's solid waste ordinance. Violators can be fined, jailed or both.

Mr. King found evidence to identify the source of the materials dumped in the Turkeyfoot Run tributary, despite the dumper's efforts to leave no calling card.

Assistant County Attorney Mary Jo Murphy said she could not discuss possible enforcement of the county's ordinance yesterday.

Latex paint found

The paint left in the stream was a water-based latex, Mr. King said. The county landfill accepts latex paint as ordinary trash, rTC although oil-based paint is classified as hazardous and cannot be discarded in the landfill.

County public works officials are working to make it easier for painters to dispose of oil-based paint. The county has had three hazardous-waste drop-off days this year to allow residents to get rid of hazardous household products.

The public works department hopes to have a permanent hazardous-waste collection program at the Northern Landfill in Reese by early 1995, said Jack Curran, who supervises county landfill operations.

"Oil-based paint will be one of the items we'll concentrate on because there's so much of it," he said.

A reward?

Mr. King said he has thought about putting up money as a reward for information that would identify people who dump trash into streams.

But he is not certain the county should get involved in cleaning up the trash, particularly where the streams are on private property. "That's not good public policy," he said.

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