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Illegal dumping problem near Centralia

Another smelly situation outside of Centralia but this one does not involve smoke—people are illegally dumping garbage and lots of it.

COLUMBIA COUNTY, Pa. — Jim Haney, Conyngham Township's code enforcement officer, is frustrated with the constant mess on Snake Road outside Centralia.

"People are disgusting," Haney said. "They bring their garbage to Conyngham Township because it's out of the way, and they dump it here."

For years, people have been illegally dumping garbage in multiple spots on Snake Road, a remote area of Columbia County. Haney says the problem is getting worse, and there isn't much the police can do.

"Animals spread it around. They rip the bags open and look for the food that might be in the bags. It's bad."

Sometimes volunteers help Haney clean up the garbage.

"Sometimes volunteers do come pick it up and take it away. Some of the state workers come by with trucks and front-end loaders when it gets real bad."

But most of the time, Haney puts on his rubber gloves and does it himself.

"Which is sometimes difficult because of the smell, the heat, the cold, whatever. I root through until I find information. It's pretty hard to tear up a medicine bottle."

He's cited quite a few people this way and says most pay the fines.

"With the money they're spending that way, they could afford a garbage man," Haney said.

If you see someone dumping their garbage illegally, you are asked to contact Conyngham Township code enforcement at 570-339-3930.

The state condemned Centralia in the 1990s after mine fires burning beneath the borough for decades made it almost unlivable. All real estate in the borough was claimed under eminent domain in 1992 and condemned by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, according to Wikipedia.

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