MONONGAHELA (KDKA) — Tires, televisions and other trash that was dumped in a park in Washington County is now being cleaned up.
The garbage pile is so big, it’s covering up a Veterans Memorial, and there’s junk leaning against a Civil War-era cannon.
It was an attempt by a state lawmaker to clean up trash along roads in Monongahela. When the initiative spread on Facebook, the message got twisted and people started dumping their trash instead of cleaning up litter.
At least 1,000 worn tires, old TVs and paint cans were dumped in Chess Park. It was meant to be a great public service encouraging Monongahela residents to get rid of old trash with plans for PennDOT to pick it up, but it appears there was a miscommunication.
“It was a very good idea until there was some misunderstanding where PennDOT arrived today, took a look at it and said, ‘We’re not picking it up,'” Monongahela Police Chief Brian Tempest said.
The clean-up campaign started Sunday at certain locations, including Chess Park, but the small amount of trash quickly turned into a large pile of debris with tires and old TVs piled in front of the Veterans Memorial.
Some residents have since moved everything away from the monument, but the dumping still went out of control.
“What we’re doing right now is, I’m gonna have to have somebody here because we’re having people come from all over, not just Monongahela, wanting to drop off TVs, tires and waste material,” Tempest said.
Plus, there are environmental concerns that come with tires dumped in the middle of town, like fire hazards and rain that can turn tires with water into mosquito breeding grounds.
With no help disposing of the trash, the city needed to find a solution. Former Washington County D.A. Steve Toprani, a Monongahela resident, reached out to Bigs Sanitation.
Christine D’Antonio’s Report:
“Bigs was not aware of what was transpiring here, and they graciously offered support,” Monongahela Police Chief Brian Tempest said. “We give credit to the people of Monongahela to want to beautify the town and get rid of garbage, but this obviously wasn’t the right way to handle that. So tonight we’re going to take efforts to clean up this park, which is an important asset to our community.”
Toprani later told KDKA-TV’s Kym Gable that a 30-yard container of TVs and tires had been hauled away and that PennDOT and an organization called PA Cleanway was scheduled to remove the rest of the debris on Wednesday. He said the area had been roped off for the safety of residents and to prevent any accidents.