WARREN Street-debris dump irks neighbor
The company's owner says he's done nothing wrong.
By AMANDA C. DAVIS
and PEGGY SINKOVICH
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
WARREN -- The dumping of street sweeping debris on private land near the Mahoning River has one property owner seeing red.
The city contracts with Mahoning Light and Maintenance Co., East Market Street, for street sweeping.
A street sweeping truck on Friday morning dumped debris at a site next to Golden Nugget Trading Post, 645 Summit St. N.W., along the river's west bank.
Larry Young, whose wife owns Golden Nugget, said debris, including plastic materials, occasionally blows onto his property, sometimes making its way to the river.
Wet material that could contain grit, oil, brake fluid and antifreeze, also finds its way to the river, Young contends.
He explained that street sweepers often hook up a hose on the truck to a city fire hydrant, which is used to clean the back of the truck. That debris and water seep into the ground or flow into a nearby storm sewer, which empties near the river, he said.
Response: The property where materials are dumped is owned by Greg Alex, who also owns Mahoning Light and Maintenance.
Alex said debris is dumped at his property, where the truck is cleaned, but noted all material is hauled to a private landfill at the end of each summer.
Debris does not get into the river, Alex said.
Young maintains he's never seen material hauled away from the site and notes there are weeds growing through the pile.
Bob Davic, Ohio Environmental Protection Agency spokesman, said street sweeping debris is considered solid waste and, according to Ohio law, must be dumped at a licensed solid waste landfill.
Kara Allison, another Ohio EPA spokeswoman, said the agency received a complaint on the matter Friday but has not verified it.
She said the matter will be referred to the city health department, which may have its own codes about dumping inside the city.
Robert Pinti, the city's deputy health commissioner, referred all questions to the city's operations department.
Operations director Frank Tempesta said he believes Alex is allowed to dump the debris on his property since it's zoned industrial. He added the debris is mainly slag.
Contract: City officials, however, noted that part of the sweeping contract calls for Mahoning Light and Maintenance to dispose of the material at a properly licensed facility.
Young said milk cartons, oil cans and other items are in the pile. "There is a whole bunch of stuff in there, not just slag," Young said.
Mayor Hank Angelo is aware of the situation and will look into whether the material can be dumped at the site. He said he'll contact the Ohio EPA for guidance.
Young has operated the Golden Nugget at that site since 1996 and said he fears the pile of unsightly debris will get in the way if he ever decides to sell his property.
He also worries about river pollution, saying serious efforts are being made to clean up areas of the Mahoning.
The area is in the city's 1st Ward. Councilwoman Virginia Bufano, D-1st, said she had not received complaints but will look into the matter.
The city pays $103,226 per year for street sweeping. Mahoning Light and Maintenance was the only company that bid on the street sweeping contract, city officials said.
Audit: According to a state performance audit, the city would spend less money if street sweeping were handled in-house.
A four-wheeled street sweeper could be purchased for $140,000, the audit states, and if an additional employee needed to be hired, it would cost about $37,125 annually.
The audit also says peer cities like Mansfield and Cuyahoga Falls perform in-house street sweeping.
City officials said the company sweeps the streets in the central business district once a week, the city's main streets once a month and residential streets every six weeks.