Dumping case come before courtPublished 9:23am Wednesday, January 9, 2013
The message from the City of Ironton Health Department and the Lawrence-Scioto Solid Waste Management District is simple: Litter will not be tolerated.
The latest case driving that point home is the sentencing of Selena M. Ellis, 1412 S. Ninth St., Ironton, on Thursday.
Ironton Municipal Court Judge O. Clark Collins sentenced her with fines, probation and jail time — the latter of which was removed on the condition she come into compliance with the health department and LSSWMD.
“The board of health received a complaint the lady was throwing trash out back with brush and other things,” Steve Hileman, LSSWMD enforcement officer said. “They had gone out there several times before they talked with us and were not receiving any compliance. So we went and investigated it together and issued a violation notice.”
Hileman said the notice of violation gave Ellis 15 days to come in compliance with the State of Ohio and the Ironton Health Department. He said she refused to come into compliance even after they extended the 15 days.
“She just lit it (the notice) up and burned it,” Hileman said. “We want people to know you can either come into compliance with the state and the board of health or you can go before the judge and explain why you didn’t heed of our warnings.”
Collins’ sentencing gives Ellis 30 days to come into compliance. The area must be inspected and approved as clean by the Ironton Health Department, according to court documents.
Dan Palmer, LSSWMD district coordinator, said the court removed Ellis’ open burning charge after she pled guilty to violating the city’s litter law.
“The State of Ohio is cracking down on the laws of open dumping and open burning.They are felonies now,” Palmer said. “Open dumping can cause insects, rodents and dogs to cause problems and burning is even worse because it puts all the particles and toxins from the garbage into the air.
“This is simply unfair to the residents. Would you want to live next to someone who just throws their garbage out in their backyard? I know I wouldn’t.”
Palmer said he is lucky to have a partner in Lana Cherrington, director of environmental health at the Ironton Health Department. Cherrington said being a registered sanitarian gives her a background in solid waste and a unique understanding of the problems of littering.
“I’ve done landfill inspections, infectious waste inspections, open burning and open burning so I’m geared toward this,” she said. “It’s not that nothing was done before I took my job. It is the fact that we are at the point where we need to drive home to the landlords and to the tenants you are responsible for your belongings. If you don’t want them you have to take them to the proper licensed facilities.”
Palmer, Hileman and Cherrington said they are thankful the prosecutors and judges have been working with them to help clean up the community.