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Collections Dumpers

CrookedDumpersMakePilesOf
Money

by Ramona Smith, Daily News Staff Writer


POSTED:November04,1996

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TheRev.CliftonPettesfindsstrengthinthePsalmthatbegins,``Iwill
liftupmineeyesuntothehills.''
Butthat'snotwhattheNorthPhiladelphiapastorhadinmindwhenhe
lifteduphiseyesandsawdumptrucksbuildingablocklonghillsideof
rubbleneartheGospelofDeliveranceChurch.
``Iwasveryconcerned,''saysPettes,``becausetheyweredumpingso
highaboveallthepeople'sfences.''
Frommountainstofoothillstosprawlingpilesofdebris,Philadelphiais
plaguedwithrubbletrouble.

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Peoplelookingforacheapwaytounloadjunkfromconstructionand
demolitionprojectsoftendumpitonoutofthewaylotsorthrowit
rightinthestreet.
``Wegotabout10tonsoftrashdownhereat10thandOntario,''
neighborAlAmodeicomplainedrecently.Afrontendloaderfromthe
StreetsDepartmentscoopeduphouseholdtrashmixedwiththedregs
ofdemolitionoldboards,charredwood,linoleumandconcrete.
BackinNorthPhiladelphia,theRev.Petteswatchedaboutadozen
trucksadaybackontoanoldrailroadpropertyoffRoosevelt
Boulevardeastof6thStreet,anddumpdemolitiondebrisofftheedge
oftheslope.
``IhaveaSundayschoolhereandwe'reconcernedaboutratsback
there,''Pettessaid.``Itwasnomorethanfourfeetfrommewhenthey
gotitstopped.''
ThedumpingstoppedlargelybecausePetteswenttothepolice,
talkedwiththedistrictattorney'sofficeandtestifiedincourt.

WeRecommend

Butayearafteritallstartedandafterseveraldumperswere
sentencedonminorchargesthehillofdemolitiondebrisstillrises
alongmorethanablockoftheoldrailroadbed.

Sixdeadinbuildingcollapsesurvivor
rescuedlateinevening
June7,2013

``Whataretheygoingtodo?''Pettesasked.
``We'releftwithadumpthere?''
Yes,theyareleftwithadumptherethousandsoftonsofconcrete,
wood,metalandotherdemolitionrubbleunderacoverofdirt,
accordingtolegalpapersfiledbytheprosecution.

FindMoreStoriesAbout
Dumpers

Thedistrictattorney'sofficeisstillconsidering``allavailablelegal
avenues''itmighttaketogetacleanup,environmentalprosecutor
HarrietBrumbergsaid.Butearlierthisyear,chargesagainstthehead
ofRailroadRecoveryInc.,whichownstheproperty,werethrownoutof
court.
Nobodyknowshowmuchofthehundredsofthousandsoftonsofconstructionanddemolitionwasteproducedeachyearinthe
citywindsuponthebacklotsandinthestreets.
Andrightnow,lawenforcementofficialsarelosingpatiencewithsystematicdumperswhostandtogainfinanciallyfromillegal
dumping.
``Wereallyarelookingtotargetsomeofthebiggershortdumpers[illegaldumpers],''saidDeputyPoliceCommissionerRichard
Zappile.
Zappilesaidpoliceandprosecutorswanttomoveinonconstructioncompaniesthatuseillegalshortcutstogetridofdebris.
``We'refocusedonseveralpartsofthecity,Southwest,EastDivision,WestPhiladelphia,''Zappilesaid.
Thedumpingofftheboulevardgivessomehintoftheeconomics,eventhoughtheconvictionswereforminorwasteviolationsor
forcreatinganuisance,ratherthanbigticketdumpingoffenses,astheprosecutionhadsought.

OperatorsofRailroadRecovery'sfencedpropertycharged$50aloadforthe20tontruckstodumpthere,accordingtoaninvoice
introducedasevidence.Legaldumpingatalandfill,however,couldhavecostupto20timesthatmuch,withthegoingrate
locallyabout$50aton.
It'sunclearjusthowmuchstuffliesunderthehillneartheGospelofDeliveranceChurch.Onestatewasteexpertfiguresit'stens
ofthousandsoftons.
AlexPage,anenforcementofficialwiththeDepartmentofEnvironmentalProtection,joinedcitypolicewhentheyswoopeddown
onthesiteayearago.Heandacoptailedadumptrucktothehillsidefromalowincomehousingconstructionsite21/2miles
awayat7thandDiamondstreets.
Meanwhile,OfficerDavidJohnsonwatchedfromaboulevardoverpassasthattruckandothersenteredagateonAnnsbury
Streetnear6th,thenbackeduptheslopeanddumpedtheirloadsintotherailroadbed.
``Thisgradeherewascontinuallygrowingprogressivelywitheachdump...Thepushwastowardthenorth,towardthe
boulevard,''Johnsontestified.
``IftheyhittheRooseveltBoulevard,iftheyhadfinishedtheproject,theywouldhaveanicelittleskichute?''MunicipalJudge
JamesM.DeLeonasked.
``Yes,withoutquestion,''Johnsonagreed.
Butthechainofresponsibilityandownershipwasacomplexone,andtheprosecution'scaseranintoalegalwall.
ChargesagainstThomasClauss,principalownerofRailroadRecovery,werethrownoutofcourt,sincetherewasnoproofhe
activelyparticipatedindumping.
Hisuncle,MichaelClauss,whooperatedthebulldozer,wasconvictedofcausingapublicnuisanceandconspiracy,butnotof
wasteviolations.HewassentencedinSeptembertoayear'sprobation,30hoursofcommunityservice,a$500fineand$132
costs.
LuisCruz,whoheldthewastehaulingcontractforthe7thandDiamondsite,wasconvictedofminorwastecharges,aswere
truckdriversHarryWoldsmitandCharlesWalker.
Cruzwasfined$1,000and$132costsandsentencedto40hoursofcommunityservice.Woldsmitdrewayear'sprobation,40
hoursofcommunityserviceand$132costs.Walkerwassentencedto10hoursofcommunityserviceand$500finesandcosts.
DeLeonissuednocleanuporder,though.Sothematerialstillrises15to25feetoutofthesunkenrailbed,approachingtheroofs
onsomebusinessesalong6thStreet.
``It'sreallyhigh,it'slikehalfwayupthebuilding,''saidYongHong,managerofabeltandhandbagmanufacturingfirm.
AndSurendraPatel,whorunsagroceryandappliancestore,saidhe'sbeenhurtbytheeasewithwhichintruderscanjumpfrom
theslopedowntohisproperty.``Therewerebreakinsatmypropertytwoorthreetimesbecauseofthat,''hesaid.
HOWYOUCANHELP
Ifyourunintoamountainofrubble,cityenforcementagenciescanuseyourhelp.
Tocatchadumper,theyneedlicenseplatenumbers,datesandtimesspecificstohelpthempindownwhat'sgoingon.
Ifamountainisgrowinginyourneighborhood,callthepoliceEnvironmentalResponseUnitat2156863082(8a.m.to6p.m.)or
theCitizensCrimeCommission24hourhotlineat2155468477.
Otherplacestocallarethepolicedistrictsanitationofficer(onthedayshift),ortheStreetsDepartmentat2156865560.
OrcalltheDailyNews'sWhattaDump!hotlineat2158545999.
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