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Illegal dumpers in Collier exposed by hidden cameras

| Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013, 8:52 p.m.

Hidden cameras purchased through a grant have allowed Collier Township police 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 accuse of illegally dumping rubbish. Police issued summary citations to three people this month because of what they say was 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 charged Danielle and Corwin Cosentino of South Fayette and Albert Jon Spader of Scott, who are accused of throwing away furniture and other items 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 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, officials of other townships already have been in contact because they are looking into starting similar programs.

“The problem is, the chances of someone actually being around when someone is visibly dumping are slim,” Pedicone said. She said most dumping takes place late at night and on rural roads.

“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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