TRUMBULL COUNTY Center faces scrutiny over dumping
Truck drivers have a key to unlock the gate and unload when no one is there.
By DENISE DICK
and PEGGY SINKOVICH
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
LEAVITTSBURG -- A Martin Luther King Avenue recycling center faces possible sanctions for allowing solid waste to be dumped at its transfer station without supervision.
Bob Pinti, Trumbull County's deputy health commissioner, said Warren Recycling Inc. allowed haulers in when no one was there.
Pinti said there are four hours a week when there isn't an operator at the Warren Township facility near here. He said he will be talking with state Environmental Protection Agency officials before he decides if he will cite the facility.
Kara Allison, an OEPA spokeswoman, said the agency will review the information, but a notice of violation would come from the local health department.
Any penalty would depend on the circumstances, she said.
Truck drivers have a key to unload at the transfer station, which Warren Recycling operates along with a construction and demolition debris landfill. Solid waste is transferred from there to a regular landfill.
Officials for Warren Recycling could not be reached. Atty. Samuel Bluedorn, who represents the facility, said he could not comment until he speaks to his clients.
Leavittsburg resident Debbie Roth, president of Our Lives Count, a citizens group formed out of concerns about Warren Recycling, said she has been monitoring the center. She called Pinti early Saturday, informing him that trucks were arriving.
She started her vigil around 10 p.m. Friday and didn't go home until almost 5 a.m. Saturday. She said the only employee at the facility left shortly after midnight.
She said that at 1:28 a.m., a BFI truck came to the facility and the driver unlocked the gate. Roth said she called Pinti, who arrived at 1:44 a.m. -- about four minutes after the truck left.
She said that when the driver left, he did not lock the gate.
"It was wide open," Roth said. "They could be dumping anything. They're leaving the public open to who knows what."
State regulations call for an operator to be at such facilities at all times when waste is coming in.
"There's a gap in their scheduling," Pinti said. "We told them they need to address that." He said he met with Warren Recycling officials Monday morning.
Pinti said he saw a truck come into the facility early Saturday.
"My understanding is that it had been going on for some time," Pinti said. Roth said that driver told her he had a key to the facility.
"We don't know how many keys are out there," she said. "What's to stop them from making duplicate keys and giving them to other people?"
Pinti added that his first concern was getting the "operation straightened out."
Roth said she and other group members plan to keep an eye on the center.