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Illegal dumpers in Collier exposed by hidden camera

| Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013, 9:02 p.m.

Hidden cameras purchased through a grant have allowed Collier Township to crack down on illegal dumping in the township.

The cameras, purchased six weeks ago with a grant from Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful, have helped to identify people police say illegally dumped rubbish. Collier police issued summary citations to three people this month after they were caught on camera.

“These actions cause a serious blight to our community, jeopardize Collier's rural charm and appeal, put a drain on our public services and pollute our roadsides and creek beds,” said township manager Sal Sirabella.

Collier police identified the accused dumpers as Danielle and Corwin Cosentino, of South Fayette, and Albert Jon Spader, of Scott, saying that they threw away furniture and other materials on July 30 and Aug. 8.

Sirabella said all three were fined $1,000. They also are responsible for paying to properly dispose of the waste. Other items dumped included a microwave and television.

“Depending on the electronic, some have certain chemicals in them that can leach into the ground,” said Heidi Pedicone, program director at Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful, a nonprofit group based in Greensburg.

She said some stores, like Best Buy, and other local groups collect old electronics.

“It keeps them not just out of landfills, but from being dumped as well,” she said.

Pedicone said she expects to see more communities moving toward surveillance to identify people dumping trash illegally. and because the Collier cameras have been so successful, other townships already have been in contact, looking to start similar programs.

“The problem is, the chances of someone actually being around when someone is visibly dumping are slim,” she said.

She said most dumping takes place late at night and on rural roads, making it difficult to catch.

“With this, we're getting a picture of the person dumping and the license plate,” she said. “It's basically the eyes are there when somebody's not able to watch.”

Megan Guza is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5810 or mguza@tribweb.com.

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