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Workers from Allegheny CleanWays cleared debris from an illegal dumping site in the city in September. CleanWays crews and city officials also picked up garbage dumped along the Youghiogheny River. (Submitted photo)
Frustrated by dozens of illegal dump sites throughout McKeesport, council has voted to drastically increase the fines and the city will soon post cameras in target areas.
Council on Wednesday voted 7-0 to amend the city’s illegal dumping ordinance to set a minimum fine of $2,500 and a maximum of $10,000, or up to 180 days in the Allegheny County Jail.
The previous fine was $300.
Mayor Michael Cherepko said the city has been working with Allegheny CleanWays’ “DumpBusters” program to identify illegal dumping spots.
City Administrator Tom Maglicco said 48 sites have been identified so far.
In one case, Cherepko said, a city resident actually was advertising on Craigslist, inviting people to dump garbage on the vacant lot behind their house.
“Obviously, it's a major concern in the city and it’s something that needs to be addressed,” he said. “I think these more stringent penalties will help send a message.”
Residents who see someone dumping garbage, appliances, tires or construction debris are urged to call 9-1-1, Cherepko said.
City officials are working with CleanWays to obtain funding for motion-sensitive cameras to gather evidence to allow people dumping garbage to be prosecuted, Maglicco said.
McKeesport is also trying to discourage littering along streets — Patterson Avenue is a particular sore spot, Cherepko said. Public works crews have filled dumpsters with trash picked from along the bend near Myer Park, only to return an hour later and find more garbage, he said.
“The littering is bad enough, but the dumping is a major, major problem, and we’re fed up,” Cherepko said.
Jason Togyer is editor of Tube City Almanac and volunteer executive director of Tube City Community Media Inc. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Originally published October 08, 2020.