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Officials take action on illegal dumpers with help from surveillance

First, the good news: More Lawrence Countians are recycling more items than ever before.

Now the bad news: A few people are abusing the recycling containers the rest of the population is embracing.

Lawrence – Scioto Solid Waste Management District Director Dan Palmer told the Lawrence County Commission Thursday some people have dumped household waste and even old home furnishings at the recycling bins that are solely for the collection of old newspapers, plastic, aluminum cans and other recyclable material.

The solid waste office has put surveillance cameras at the Sam’s-Walmart recycling site in Burlington and the Proctorville Foodfair site — along with signs to alert people about what the bins are for and what the penalties are for those caught misusing them.

Already, the surveillance and signs are having some success.

“One person tried to dump a mattress, saw the sign and stopped,” Palmer said. “At one location we’re even getting help from a business that is putting up a camera trained on our recycling bins.”

In spite of the few abusers, Palmer said the two-county district set a record in June for the amount of recycled material collected: 186.64 tons.

“The last record month was December 2008, 186.3 tons and we attributed that to Christmas,” Palmer said.

Palmer said his plans to put recycling bins at the Lawrence County Courthouse have hit a snag, though. There is no available space close enough to the building to facilitate the idea.

Commissioner Doug Malone praised Palmer and the SWMD staff for their efforts to clean up Lawrence County.

“I appreciate what you are doing and I think word is getting out. I don’t see people throwing stuff from their car windows. People are being prosecuted and I think we’re going a long way in cleaning up Lawrence County,” Malone said.