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Great Lakes Article:

Pennsylvania Cleans Up Illegal Dumps

HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania, August 16, 2002 (ENS) - Illegal dumps are nothing new in Pennsylvania - for decades, landowners have found junked cars and other debris abandoned on farms and woodlots, dumped by people who chose to avoid fees for legal disposal.

The problem still exists, and now, the state is taking steps to clean up illegal dumps - at least on public lands. This week, the state announced the removal of more than 53 tons of debris from an illegal dumpsite in Tioga State Forest.

State contractors hauled away 52 tons of concrete and asphalt and 1.4 tons of trash, appliances and 19 tires from an illegal dumpsite along a Route 6 pull off between Gaines and Galeton. The site was on a slope above Pine Creek. Phoenix Resources/Waste Management of Wellsboro donated the disposal cost for the concrete and asphalt.

The cleanup was part of the state's Forest Lands Beautification Program. The Forest Lands Beautification Act provides up to $7.5 million over five years to clean up existing dumps on state forest and park lands by recycling or disposing of waste materials. The program is administered by the Department of Environmental Protection and the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR).

DCNR works in partnership with PA CleanWays, a nonprofit organization, to identify dumpsites and to form community volunteer teams to help remove the waste.

About 225 illegal dumpsites have been identified throughout Pennsylvania. To date, 114 sites have been cleaned up through the efforts of more than 1,150 volunteers. These cleanups have resulted in the removal of more than 1,850 tons of debris - including more than 6,200 tires, 80 tons of scrap metal, construction materials, household trash, furniture and more.

The Forest Lands Beautification Program also seeks to educate citizens about proper methods of waste disposal. The program's website includes a link to "Earth's 911," a public private partnership providing a national database of recycling information. Users can enter their zip codes to obtain a listing of local curbside or drop off recycling programs, solid waste disposal locations, yard waste composting sites and household hazardous waste disposal sites.

The database includes the names and locations of facilities, phone numbers, hours of operation, and any restrictions pertaining to the acceptance of waste.

To join a cleanup team or for more information, call the Forest Lands Beautification Program toll free at: 1-877-7PA FOREST (1-877-772-3673) or visit the program website at: http://www.CleanPAForests.org

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