Reading, Pa. – The Cleanup Our American Lands and Streams (COALS) Program is being implemented in Berks County by local partners through the initiative of the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the non-profit Pennsylvania Environmental Council (PEC).
A COALS Cleanup was held in May and June at the South 9th Street Site in Berks County, where over 700 tires, 14 tons of scrap metal and over 80 tons of trash were removed from the illegal dump site.
The area, located on the shores of the Schuylkill River adjacent to South 9th Street in the City of Reading and Cumru Township, had been a site of illegal dumping for many years and an eyesore in the community.
Due to the amount of trash and tires and the very steep terrain of the site, it was necessary to retain a contractor, Gary Fronk Inc., to remove the illegally dumped material. Due to the extent of the dumping, it took several weeks to complete the cleanup.
The City of Reading, Cumru Township and Crime Alert are partnering to keep the site cleaned up. Surveillance cameras, similar to those installed at the Skyline Drive COALS Cleanup areas, have been installed at 9th Street. Local Police have also increased patrol of the area.
Partners in the cleanup included PEC, DEP, Berks County Solid Waste Authority, and the City and Township. J.P. Mascaro and Sons, a COALS Program sponsor, donated the transportation and disposal costs for the trash.
COALS is a program to remove illegally dumped garbage and trash through a partnership among environmental groups, business and industry, including coal and waste companies, and local, county and state governments. The program was piloted in Columbia and Northumberland counties and has expanded to over 10 counties. The COALS program is a multi-faceted initiative, which includes cleanups, developing recycling programs, education and outreach, surveillance and enforcement. The PEC and DEP have developed a coalition of committed partners.
Since the program’s inception in 2005, over 125 sites, 700 tons of municipal waste, 300 tons of tires and 220 pounds of hazardous waste have been cleaned up, but a tremendous amount of work remains. On average, there are over 200 illegal dumpsites in each county in the Commonwealth.