Clifton Park man charged with illegal trash dumping

Suspect is 10th arrested through new city effort

September 06, 2001|By Laurie Willis | Laurie Willis,SUN STAFF

A Clifton Park man was arrested yesterday and charged with illegal dumping after a city worker said he saw him throwing trash onto a vacant lot in the 1700 block of Harlem Ave. in West Baltimore.

Norris Hall, 66, of the 1300 block of Gorsuch Ave. was taken into custody after he refused to stop dumping trash on the lot between Fulton Avenue and North Mount Street, said Robert H. Murrow, a spokesman for the city's Department of Public Works.

Hall, the 10th person arrested and accused of illegal dumping since the city's Environmental Crimes Task Force was launched in March, could be sentenced to one year in prison and ordered to pay a $10,000 fine if convicted, Murrow said.

Tafi'fayth X, acting supervisor for collections for the DPW, said he saw a man discarding debris from a blue dump truck about 11 a.m. yesterday.

X said he told the man he was dumping illegally, but the man continued dumping. X called police and Environmental Crimes Task Force members, he said.

Hall would have paid less if he had hauled the trash -- which included carpeting and two 55-gallon drums filled with water and oil -- to a city landfill. Now, he must pay for having his truck towed, court costs and possibly a fine, Murrow said.

"Hopefully, this will send a message to all the other haulers that it is not OK to dump on every lot you see in Baltimore City because it is vacant," said John Chalmers, acting superintendent for the DPW. "It's illegal. We often get overwhelmed because we're outnumbered when it comes to the small haulers. He could have taken this stuff to the Quarantine Road Landfill."

Efforts to reach Hall were unsuccessful.

Murrow said he wasn't sure whether the lot was city-owned, but he added that "it's illegal to dump anywhere in the city."

Dorothy Miles lives across from the lot and arrived home yesterday to find DPW workers removing trash, including furniture, mattresses and bottles.

She said she doesn't agree that Hall should have been arrested but is glad the city cleaned the lot.

"They should have given him a warning not to dump the trash out there," Miles said.

Miles said she was fined $50 last year for trash in the alley behind her home. She said she thinks people dump illegally throughout the city "because they're stupid" and don't care.

Chalmers said workers spent hours cleaning the lot yesterday, but he doesn't expect it to stay free of trash.

"Today, we're going to get a crew up here and clean this lot spotless," Chalmers said before the workers arrived. "I'll come back tomorrow on my way to work and take a picture. I expect to see trash in the morning. It's a secluded spot, and during the wee hours of the morning, somebody will dump here."

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