TEXAS TWP. - Illegal dumping has been an ongoing issue on Bucks Cove Road, with tons of environmentally-hazardous materials being toss over embankments that lead to parts of the Lackawaxen River.
Township officials are looking to put a stop to the problem with the installation of surveillance cameras, which Texas hopes to obtained as part of a statewide initiative to curb illegal dumping.
“We have to do something,” said township Supervisor Allan Wickle.
The supervisor noted illegal dumping has been occurring for years at multiple sections of Bucks Cove Road, a dirt and gravel road that stretches through a wooded area for about three miles, from White Mills Road to Erie Street.
Steep embankments are found in various areas. That “makes it easy to get rid of garbage without having to pay for it,” Wickle said, as hillsides provide illegal dumpers with a convenient place for easy unloading.
The supervisors hope the illegal dumping stops with the installation of the cameras, which they hope to receive in the near future.
The statewide initiative Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful, with support from the state Department of Environmental Protection, has launched the IllegalDumpFreePA Program to offer grants to municipalities dealing with illegal dumping.
Grant recipients receive a surveillance kit that includes three concealable, lockable cameras and accessories that capture usable footage, even at night.
One camera, when triggered, uses wireless technology to send images via text to a registered cellphone, providing almost instant results, said the township's zoning officer, Jeff DeYoung.
Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful also gives technical assistance for installation.
DeYoung submitted the grant application on Wednesday but it was unclear when the township will receive word on when it may receive the equipment.
Supervisor Don Doney was optimistic saying, “I do think we'll get some (cameras).”
Illegal dump sites contaminate soil, surface and groundwater supplies, in addition to attracting disease-spreading rodents and mosquitoes.
Debris tossed over embankments on Bucks Cove Road has included old television sets, mattresses, household appliances and auto parts.
“You name it, they throw it over,” Doney said.
Doney also expressed dismay about how some people discard bagfuls of recyclables along the roadside.
“Instead of bringing it to the recycling center, they dump it there,” said the supervisor.
In 2013 the Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful Illegal Dump Survey Program identified 6,487 illegal dumpsites statewide containing an estimated 18,516.83 tons of trash.
Bucks Cove Road was included among the sites, with a calculated nine tons of debris including bagged trash, household trash, recyclables, tires, electronics and furniture.