A statewide survey that was started in 2005 has identified 6,487 sites containing an estimated 18,516.83 tons of illegally dumped trash in Pennsylvania.
The final six counties in Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful’s Statewide Illegal Dumpsite Survey Program were added to the statistics this year and the results were released Friday.
Erie County’s assessment was one of the first carried out. In 2005, there were 83 known illegal dump sites totaling more than 121 tons of trash, with more dump sites suspected to exist on both public and private land. Sites ranged from half a ton to 15 tons. Sites were most often discovered in the city of Erie and Springfield Township.
Recyclables and tires were the most common trash. Forty percent of the sites were in the vicinity of a waterway or body of water, according to the report, and 21 percent of those sites revealed trash placed directly in the water.
The Crawford County assessment, completed in 2008, revealed 82 dump sites containing 115.38 tons of trash. Half of the surveyed sites were in the vicinity of water; the Oil Creek , French Creek and Lake Erie watersheds were all impacted. Oil Creek, Rome, Wayne, Hayfield and Beaver townships were locations of the most trash sites.
Warren County had fewer dump sites, 59, but they contained an alarming amount of trash — 291.75 tons. A dumpsite in Eldred Township contained an estimated 21.5 tons of trash.
In Venango County, according to the 2008 final report, there were 174 dumpsites — 90 percent of them still active — containing 386.38 tons of trash. Cornplanter Township alone had 28 dump sites holding an estimated 125 tons of trash.
Mercer County held 143 dump sites and more than 154 tons of trash.
As part of an effort to develop a strategic plan to combat illegal dumping, Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful has hired MSW Consultants Inc. to calculate the costs of illegal dumping to communities. Findings are expected to be released in the fall.
Nestor Resources Inc. has been hired to complete the statewide analysis and aid state, county and local governments and community stakeholders in developing tactics to reduce illegal dumping. Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful expects those recommendations to be made available in 2014.