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The great American clean-up, Part 2: Illegal dumping continues in Centralia

October 2017

On 21 October 2017, EPCAMR (Eastern PA Coalition of Abandoned Mine Reclamation) organized another successful community clean-up in Centralia, Pennsylvania’s Lost Town.

Since May 2014, EPCAMR (Eastern PA Coalition of Abandoned Mine Reclamation) has been organizing annual community clean-ups in Centralia, a borough in the heart of Pennsylvania’s anthracite coal region.

Although the borough is virtually abandoned, the borough has become somewhat of a tourist attraction due to the coal mine fire that led to its decline. As well, two busy state road run through it, so Centralia is far from deserted.

Some of those vehicles traveling through the borough slip down the deserted former residential streets and dump their garbage, everything from household waste to furniture, to construction waste to old tires.  Over time, this illegal dumping amounts to significant amount of garbage.

A total of 93 volunteers from a wide age-range gathered at the Centralia Municipal Building along Locust Avenue at 9am to register and gather gloves and garbage bags.  Numerous pick-up trucks and some SUVs with trailers lined the Locust Avenue to collect the garbage and haul it to two industrial garbage bins which quickly began to fill up.

By the end of the day, 8.3 Tons of trash and approximately 53 tires had been collected from two acres of the borough, along with 1 couch, 1 bed frame, 2 mattresses, 2 recliner chairs, 12 rugs, and 2 televisions were removed.

Sadly, the illegal dumping continues and some may even think EPCAMR is fighting a losing battle, especially given that limited resources make it hard to collect all the trash in borough or to have more frequent clean-ups. However, this is no reason not to do something and without the efforts put forth by EPCAMR and the numerous volunteers, the problem would quickly get out of control. Every little bit helps.

One thing that certainly could help is the placement of cameras throughout the borough to catch illegal dumping. This still wouldn’t be a perfect solution, but the threat of public shaming through social media and/or the possibility of charges would discourage many.

If there are any organizations that wish to donate high resolution cameras, perhaps with motion sensor activation, I’m sure many would volunteer to install and maintain them.

Although EPCAMR and other corporations usually donate supplies and two industrial garbage bins, donations are always appreciated and help off-set the cost of food, drinks, water, tools, heavy duty garbage bags, gloves, cleanup supplies, hand sanitizer, first aid kits, refreshments, snacks for the volunteers and EPCAMR staff in attendance and haulage and landfill tipping fees.

Donations for this or future clean-ups can be made on-line at www.givegab.com/nonprofits/eastern-pa-coalition-for-abandoned-mine-reclamation/campaigns/clean-up-centralia-for-centralians-past-present or to:

c/o Robert Hughes, Clean-Up Event
101 S. Main St.
Ashley, PA 18706

This was my sixth trip to Centralia and my second time participating in a clean-up and I plan to return in the future.

Many thanks to all of those who contributed to the effort, including:

  • Original Italian Pizza in Mount Carmel (provided pizza)
  • Amy Saraka (provided pasta salad)
  • Taqueria J. Zapata (provided Mexican food and food truck)
  • EPCAMR (provided refreshments and ice from gift cards from Target, Wegmans, and Price Chopper, as well provided rakes and shovels)
  • PennDOT, Keep PA Beautiful, Pennsylvania Environmental Council NE Office, American Rivers, National River Cleanup Week (provided garbage bags and gloves)
  • Tommy Hynoski (provided use of the Centralia Borough Building, restrooms, and picnic tables in Centralia Hose Company No. 1 bay)
  • Towson University, Wilkes University, and King’s College
  • Dean Hooper (promoted the event through the Centralia Facebook Group)
  • Mitchell Weed and Jason Korth (provided use of a 6′ x 8′ trailer to pick up trash)
  • Wicked Jeeps of Central PA and Wicked Jeeps Coal Region (provided vehicles, winches, water, soda, snacks, garbage bags, and hand sanitizer)
  • Joe Sapienza II (provided garbage bags, leaf bags, contractor bags, water, bug spray, and cleanup supplies, as well as video promotion of the pre and post cleanup)
  • Centraliapa.org (provided publicity and outreach)
  • Mr. Charles Connell (provided $100 towards the 10 pizzas from Original Italian Pizza)
  • Patricia Chapman, former Centralia resident (provided a grill for lunch and charcoal for the hot dogs)
  • And a special thank you to everyone who volunteered their time on the cleanup day:
  • Amy Williams, Taylor Pearson. Olivia Veno, Matthew Raabe, Humza Yaqoob, Paula Araneda, Evan O’Neal, Luke Barragan, Cara Figuerea, Tara Kimsal, Dennis Daugherty, Addison Kimsal, Jason Landis, Amy Landis, Kayla Wedlock, Abigail Tarway, Freddy Del Rosario, Hussain Alramay M, Yuleisyvilla Villarreal, Ben Pierce, Jose DaGrocia, Deric Sowersby, Mitchell Weed, Jason Korth, Nathan Frymyer, Mike Frymyer, Braiden Weber, Kayla Morgan, Carmine Volturo, Brad Noll, Xavier Noll, Erika Noll, Ray Sterwer, Alan Harbaugh, Patty Roye, Bob Kahley, Rob Polukis, Kay Polukis, Patricia Chapman, Dean Hooper, Bruce Forsyth, Charles Connell, Reagan Schlagel, Adam Schlagel, Kyle Fawcett, Michelle Stauffer, Eric Stauffer, James Koharski, Angelo Antonucci, Donna Labbato, Ashten Anthony, Avery McCracken, Taryn Yunginger, Thelma Amarose, James Sage, Josh Heuyard, Steffanie Bush, Angel Dugan, Brian Dugan, Thomas J. Conniff, Charles Bertzfield, James Young, Toni Young, Joanne Bonn, Vick Potts, Karen Bowden, Mike Grove, Kayleigh Saraka, Amy Saraka, Sue Heinz, Amie Tracy, Erik Tracy, Zak Zangari, Da Ying, Bobby Hughes, Gabby Zawacki, Gavin Pellitteri, Llywellyn Westrick, Jason Nork.

About the author

Bruce Forsyth

Bruce Forsyth served in the Royal Canadian Navy Reserve for 13 years (1987-2000). He served with units in Toronto, Hamilton & Windsor and worked or trained at CFB Esquimalt, CFB Halifax, CFB Petawawa, CFB Kingston, CFB Toronto, Camp Borden, The Burwash Training Area and LFCA Training Centre Meaford.

Permanent link to this article: https://militarybruce.com/the-great-american-clean-up-part-2-illegal-dumping-continues-in-centralia/

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