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A trashy problem: Landowners report large pieces of garbage on land

Press Photo by Katherine Lymn Bruce Kouba looks through a trash pile he found on a section line near his home northwest of Dickinson. He said he thinks people dump garbage in rural areas to avoid paying fees at the city landfill.

Bruce Kouba has seen it all — bed springs, car parts and even toilets.

The problem is, it’s in piles of trash on rural land where he lives.

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Stark County officials have received reports almost every month of trash piles near rural section lines outside Dickinson, law enforcement officials said. They cite limited landfill hours and fees, which range from $12.50 for a refrigerator to $240 for a ton of tires. This deters people from using the site and prompts them to deposit waste illegally, Stark County Roads Superintendent Al Heiser said.

“I think … the problem is nobody wants (to pay) to go to the landfill.” he said. “And then people say, ‘Hey I ain’t gonna pay no fee, I’m just gonna dump it out here and let the county guys pick it up.’”

And that’s what happens — Heiser got a call Friday from law enforcement with a report of illegal dumping south of town. This time, it was chemical containers and a pickup bumper. A month ago north of South Heart, it was pails full of used oil.

Kouba has seen it happen at his current property, northwest of town, and when he lived northeast of town.

Most recently, he came upon a pile of old car parts on a section line.

“It’s like pickup loads,” he said.

Stark County Sheriff Clarence Tuhy said his office occasionally receives reports of trash dumps.

The Sheriff’s Office investigates the incidents, and if they are able to find out who the trash belongs to, the person is prosecuted.

Tuhy said when investigators identified a perpetrator recently, they charged him and had him come clean up the mess.

But it’s not always a happy ending.

“A lot of times you don’t find out who’s doing it because it’s a tire or two or a couch or a living room chair,” Tuhy said.

Heiser said he’s seen couches, fridges, freezers, washers, dryers and beds.

“It’s just a convenience,” he said. “They just wheel out there and throw it off.”