EAST LIVERPOOL - After repeated attempts to stop illegal dumping at the Second Street recycling center, it has been closed by the Carroll-Columbiana-Harrison Solid Waste District (SWD).
The seven bins located near the entrance to state Route 39 were removed this week, leaving behind evidence of why the decision was made, with several large pieces of furniture and other trash lying near a sign indicating it was a recycling site only.
In an Aug. 19 letter to City Council, SWD Director of Operations Eric Matthews said the decision to close the site was made by the SWD board of directors due to "repeated unsuccessful attempts to maintain the site from all parties involved."
Morning Journal/Jo Ann Bobby-Gilbert
All that remains of the Second Street recycling center in East Liverpool is the furniture and other trash illegally dumped at the site, which ultimately led to its demise.
Matthews went on to say those attempts include law enforcement grants, security cameras, unsuccessful attempts to prosecute illegal dumpers, and constantly cleaning the site that resulted in "huge expenses" in personnel and disposal fees.
He said that, despite repeated attempts to rectify the situation, it had worsened to the point of becoming a health and safety concern as well as resulting in damaged equipment due to illegal items being placed in and around the recycling bins.
Not only has the situation created these issues, but has resulted in an "undesirable image" of the Kimble Company, which collects the recyclables, the SWD and the city, Matthews said.
Officials of the SWD had met with city officials in the spring to discuss the issue and said then that, although illegal dumping is a problem at some of the other 60-65 sites it sponsors in the three-county district, at none of them is it as bad as in East Liverpool.
The Second Street recycling center was the most-used collection center in the tri-county area, according to officials.
At one meeting, SWD officials said the Salem recycling site was "spotless," located as it is next to the city fire department, and thought was given to relocating the Second Street center to the now-closed Pleasant Heights fire station or near Central Station.
The city's environmental committee had met on the issue a few times, seeking alternatives to the Second Street site and in May recommended it be relocated to a spot near Westgate School which members believed would lend itself less to illegal dumping since it would be near the sewage treatment plant which is manned 24 hours per day and would be less accessible from the highway.
However, Mayor Jim Swoger said Friday the SWD had decided that site was unacceptable then followed up with the decision to close the Second Street site, leaving in operation only a much smaller recycling center at Oakland and Pennsylvania avenues.
Visibly displeased with the decision, Swoger said, "I thought we did a great thing with this. I didn't realize there were that many ignorant people to ruin it for everybody. It was a great asset for not only the city but West Virginia and even Calcutta."
SWD representatives said previously their observation shows the illegal dumping taking place was not by city residents but from "across the river," with an average of half a truckload of debris illegally dumped at the site weekly.
There are also recycling sites operated by the SWD in Liverpool Township near the township hall and St. Clair Township at the former township hall on East Liverpool Road.
Swoger said the items dumped at the now-closed site will be cleaned up Tuesday and a barricade erected to try and prevent further illegal dumping on the property, which is actually owned by the state of Ohio.
Having made numerous attempts to catch people in the act of dumping at the site, Swoger said, "It always has been my pet peeve. I guess I've lost."
The city does also offer curbside recycling to its residents, who can dispose of unwanted cardboard, glass, paper and plastic in furnished bins. Swoger said plans call for offering aluminum can recycling in the near future, as well as some additional changes in the recycling program.