Ransom Township holds volunteer roadside cleanup, plans to install surveillance cameras in illegal dumping areas


By Elizabeth Baumeister - ebaumeister@timesleader.com



Abington Heights Middle School student Reilly Lewis tosses an old campaign sign onto a pile of garbage he and other volunteers pulled from the side of State Route 3002 in Ransom Township on Saturday, May 7.


Elizabeth Baumeister photos | Abington Journal

Three solar-powered surveillance cameras and two trail cameras sit in a conference room at the Ransom Township municipal building, ready to be placed in various roadside locations where littering and vandalism is most prevalent in the township.


Elizabeth Baumeister photos | Abington Journal

Bags of phone books litter State Route 3002 in Ransom Township.


Elizabeth Baumeister photos | Abington Journal

A Ransom Twp. truck dumps more tires on one of the piles collected from alongside State Route 3002.


Elizabeth Baumeister photos | Abington Journal

Broken televisions and other trash lines the woods along State Route 3002 in Ransom Township Friday afternoon before the Saturday cleanup.


Elizabeth Baumeister photos | Abington Journal

A pile of tires collected from State Route 3002 sits behind the Ransom Township municipal building, waiting to be picked up by PennDOT.


Elizabeth Baumeister photos | Abington Journal

From left, Ransom Township Supervisor/Road Master David Bird and Road Foreman Jerry Scott pick a tire off the side of State Route 3002 on Friday, May 13. Bird said he worked all week pulling tires, mattresses, televisions and other discarded items from the wooded area alongside that stretch of road, counting more than 250 tires.


Elizabeth Baumeister photos | Abington Journal

Pa. littering and illegal dumping laws

• PA Vehicle Code, Title 75, Chapter 37: The act of dropping, throwing or depositing litter or waste from a vehicle onto any highway, other public or private property without the consent of the owner, or into or on the waters of the Commonwealth is a summary offense, for which vehicle owners are held responsible, even if they are not driving or present in the vehicle at the time of the offense. Sentencing may include a maximum fine of $900 in an easement purchased under the Agricultural Area Security Law, $600 in an agricultural security area, or $300 anywhere else and/or eight to 16 hours of litter pick up and removal the first conviction.

• PA Vehicle Code, Title 75, Chapter 49: Escaped vehicle loads that cause injury to a person or damage to another vehicle or other property as a result of improper securing are considered a summary offense. Upon conviction, sentencing may include a fine of $100 to $300, if the violation results in no injury or damage, or a fine of $300 to $1,000, if the it results in injury or damage.

• PA Crimes Code, Title 18, Chapter 65: Litter or waste deposited into or upon any road or right-of-way, land of another, or into the waters of the Commonwealth is considered a summary offense for the first offense. Upon conviction, sentencing can include a fine of $50 to $300 and/or imprisonment for up to 90 days.

Source: illegaldumpfreepa.org.

RANSOM TWP. — Rolling hills, green farmlands, lush forests – these could all describe the scenery one is likely to witness when driving through the municipality. But along some stretches of area roadway, an accurate description would also have to include things like old tires, piles of trash and broken electronics.

Littering and illegal dumping is a problem in Ransom Township, according to resident Amy Lewis, who volunteered, along with her 11-year-old son Reilly, for a cleanup of Snake Road (Ransom Road or State Route 3002) Saturday morning, May 7.

“It’s disgusting,” she said, referring to all the roadside trash. “Especially when Ransom Township has free garbage pickup.”

But rather than dwelling on the problem, township officials are making steps toward a solution, and Saturday’s cleanup is just the start.

Thanks to a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, the township recently purchased for $14,845 a set of solar-powered surveillance cameras. This equipment, according to Township Supervisor David Bird, will be strategically placed in various “problem areas” within the township. He explained Snake Road, Coxton Road and Dark Region Road, especially, see a lot of litter and vandalism.

The cameras, however, won’t necessarily remain in the same spots all the time.

“That’s the nice thing about these – we can move them around,” Bird said. “If we see a spot where we’re starting to get activity, we can put the cameras out there.”

And, thanks to modern technology, the results should be instantaneous. The cameras not only have the ability to take clear pictures of people who park in the surrounding area to unload their trash, but they can also instantly send those images directly to a township cell phone or email account. Township officials will then notify law enforcement so the law-breakers can be prosecuted.

Information regarding state littering and illegal dumping laws and penalties can be found online at illegaldumpfreepa.org. Local ordinances can vary by municipality. According to Bird, Ransom Township Solicitor Edmund Scacchitti is in the process of drafting a specific ordinance for the municipality, which will likely come before the supervisors for a vote sometime this summer.

On Saturday, Lewis and her son joined Bird, Township Secretary JoAnn Pane and a small group of workers from Alliance Landfill in bagging up litter from the roadside, which PennDOT employees then picked up, along with loads of more than 250 tires that Bird and the township road crew piled up during the week.

“We live in a beautiful area, and you hate seeing that stuff lining the roads,” said Bird. “You drive by and it makes you sick.”

Just some of the other items pulled off the roadside, according to Bird, included more than seven old televisions and other broken electronics, a child’s wading pool, mattresses and a large pile of phone books still in their plastic delivery bags.

Bird was optimistic regarding the township’s battle against the litter problem, and expressed gratitude on behalf of the municipality for the volunteers who helped with Saturday’s cleanup, PennDOT for its partnership in the event and the volunteers from the Ransom Lions Club and Countryside Community Church, who also conducted a cleanup the week before on Newton Ransom Boulevard.

Abington Heights Middle School student Reilly Lewis tosses an old campaign sign onto a pile of garbage he and other volunteers pulled from the side of State Route 3002 in Ransom Township on Saturday, May 7.
http://theabingtonjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/web1_ABJ-Cleanup-1.jpgAbington Heights Middle School student Reilly Lewis tosses an old campaign sign onto a pile of garbage he and other volunteers pulled from the side of State Route 3002 in Ransom Township on Saturday, May 7. Elizabeth Baumeister photos | Abington Journal

Three solar-powered surveillance cameras and two trail cameras sit in a conference room at the Ransom Township municipal building, ready to be placed in various roadside locations where littering and vandalism is most prevalent in the township.
http://theabingtonjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/web1_ABJ-Cleanup-2.jpgThree solar-powered surveillance cameras and two trail cameras sit in a conference room at the Ransom Township municipal building, ready to be placed in various roadside locations where littering and vandalism is most prevalent in the township. Elizabeth Baumeister photos | Abington Journal

Bags of phone books litter State Route 3002 in Ransom Township.
http://theabingtonjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/web1_ABJ-Cleanup-3.jpgBags of phone books litter State Route 3002 in Ransom Township. Elizabeth Baumeister photos | Abington Journal

A Ransom Twp. truck dumps more tires on one of the piles collected from alongside State Route 3002.
http://theabingtonjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/web1_ABJ-Cleanup-4.jpgA Ransom Twp. truck dumps more tires on one of the piles collected from alongside State Route 3002. Elizabeth Baumeister photos | Abington Journal

Broken televisions and other trash lines the woods along State Route 3002 in Ransom Township Friday afternoon before the Saturday cleanup.
http://theabingtonjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/web1_ABJ-Cleanup-5.jpgBroken televisions and other trash lines the woods along State Route 3002 in Ransom Township Friday afternoon before the Saturday cleanup. Elizabeth Baumeister photos | Abington Journal

A pile of tires collected from State Route 3002 sits behind the Ransom Township municipal building, waiting to be picked up by PennDOT.
http://theabingtonjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/web1_ABJ-Cleanup-6.jpgA pile of tires collected from State Route 3002 sits behind the Ransom Township municipal building, waiting to be picked up by PennDOT. Elizabeth Baumeister photos | Abington Journal

From left, Ransom Township Supervisor/Road Master David Bird and Road Foreman Jerry Scott pick a tire off the side of State Route 3002 on Friday, May 13. Bird said he worked all week pulling tires, mattresses, televisions and other discarded items from the wooded area alongside that stretch of road, counting more than 250 tires.
http://theabingtonjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/web1_ABJ-Cleanup-7.jpgFrom left, Ransom Township Supervisor/Road Master David Bird and Road Foreman Jerry Scott pick a tire off the side of State Route 3002 on Friday, May 13. Bird said he worked all week pulling tires, mattresses, televisions and other discarded items from the wooded area alongside that stretch of road, counting more than 250 tires. Elizabeth Baumeister photos | Abington Journal

By Elizabeth Baumeister

ebaumeister@timesleader.com

Pa. littering and illegal dumping laws

• PA Vehicle Code, Title 75, Chapter 37: The act of dropping, throwing or depositing litter or waste from a vehicle onto any highway, other public or private property without the consent of the owner, or into or on the waters of the Commonwealth is a summary offense, for which vehicle owners are held responsible, even if they are not driving or present in the vehicle at the time of the offense. Sentencing may include a maximum fine of $900 in an easement purchased under the Agricultural Area Security Law, $600 in an agricultural security area, or $300 anywhere else and/or eight to 16 hours of litter pick up and removal the first conviction.

• PA Vehicle Code, Title 75, Chapter 49: Escaped vehicle loads that cause injury to a person or damage to another vehicle or other property as a result of improper securing are considered a summary offense. Upon conviction, sentencing may include a fine of $100 to $300, if the violation results in no injury or damage, or a fine of $300 to $1,000, if the it results in injury or damage.

• PA Crimes Code, Title 18, Chapter 65: Litter or waste deposited into or upon any road or right-of-way, land of another, or into the waters of the Commonwealth is considered a summary offense for the first offense. Upon conviction, sentencing can include a fine of $50 to $300 and/or imprisonment for up to 90 days.

Source: illegaldumpfreepa.org.

Reach Elizabeth Baumeister at 570-704-3943 or on Twitter @AbingtonJournal.

Reach Elizabeth Baumeister at 570-704-3943 or on Twitter @AbingtonJournal.

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