The Cleanup Our American Lands and Streams (COALS) Program, a program to clean up illegal dump sites, is being implemented in Luzerne County by local partners. For several days in November, COALS cleanups were held at the Lee Road Site and adjacent toMain Street in Plymouth Borough/Plymouth Township, both inLuzerneCounty.
Both areas have been subject to illegal dumping for many years and had been eyesores in the community. COALS is a program of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the Pennsylvania Environmental Council (PEC) to clean up illegal dump sites.
A total of 4 tons of trash and .5 ton of tires were removed from this site by volunteers.
“The COALS initiative has enabled Earth Conservancy to have several illegal dumpsites cleaned,” said Mike Dziak, President/CEO of Earth Conservancy. “This one in particular has been a problem because of its location close to the highway. COALS is a positive program that helps deal with a serious illegal dumping problem in the region.”
Partners in the cleanup included the Pennsylvania Environmental Council, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, USDA, Earth Conservancy, and the Pennsylvania American Water Company. The Luzerne County Department of Corrections Pre-Work Release Program supplied volunteers. J.P. Mascaro and Sons, a COALS Program sponsor, donated the dumpsters and transportation and Keystone Sanitary Landfill, another COALS Program sponsor donated disposal costs for the trash.
The Lee Road site, a property of Earth Conservancy, has 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.
A total of 18.5 tons of trash and 1 ton of tires were removed from this site. Penn Dot will be installing a guard rail along this portion of roadway to deter future dumping.
“We are glad to have this area cleaned of the illegal garbage that has been dumped here over a long period of time,” said Dziak.
“The COALS program helped us to have a site cleaned that would have been difficult for us to do on our own because of the uneven topography. We are also thankful to Penn DOT for agreeing to install a guardrail along the road. This will make a big difference in our ability to stop future dumping in the area.”
Partners in the cleanup included the Pennsylvania Environmental Council, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, USDA, Earth Conservancy and the Pennsylvania American Water Company. J.P. Mascaro and Sons, a COALS Program sponsor, donated the dumpsters and transportation and Keystone Sanitary Landfill, another COALS Program sponsor donated 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 ten (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 150 sites, 725 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.