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Valley News Dispatch

Garbage dumped at empty Natrona homes ‘a cancer,’ resident says

Brian C. Rittmeyer

Conrad Zylinski is convinced that if it was happening in Natrona Heights, it wouldn’t be tolerated.

But since it’s Natrona, garbage is piling up behind abandoned houses near his Spruce Street home, and it seems to him that no one is doing anything about it.

“It’s a cancer,” he said looking at the mountains of ripped open and rotting bags on Friday. “This is disease here. When it warms up this is going to be appalling.”

Harrison is aware of the dumping problem and is working with its garbage hauler, Waste Management, to find a solution, said Lindsay Fraser, supervisor of the township’s zoning and ordinance office.

But since the garbage is at empty houses, the township would have to pay Waste Management to remove it, she said. That’s a budget decision that township commissioners haven’t made yet.

Reached recently, commissioners Chairman Bill Heasley said he was not aware of the problem and it was the first he’d heard of it.

Asked for comment, Waste Management spokeswoman Erika Deyarmin-Young said, “Waste Management provides service to occupied homes that have an active account with Waste Management.”

Harrison has had Waste Management as it garbage hauler for a little over a year. While the cost to residents increased significantly, more than 50 percent, part of the three-year deal is that garbage collection is unlimited, including bulk items. There had previously been a three-bag limit.

Combating dumping and accumulation of uncollected trash was part of the reason for going to unlimited pickup, Heasley said.

Yet, Fraser said officials are aware of several problem areas in the township.

“There’s no point for people to be throwing garbage anywhere,” Fraser said. “They can put it out for pickup and Waste Management will pick it up, including bulk items.”

Zylinksi, 66, a retired health and physical education teacher at Freeport, has lived in his home on Spruce in Natrona since 1991. He said the garbage in the alley between Spruce and Walnut streets has been there for a year or more.

It draws animals — rats, cats, raccoons — and he sees it as an eyesore and a hazard for neighborhood children, and those at a neighborhood daycare and parishioners at a nearby church.

“It’s like graffiti — you let it go, it grows,” he said.

Fraser said officials have gone through the garbage.

“We have not been able to find any identifiable information in the garbage,” she said. “We can’t track it back to anyone in particular.”

There are no cameras in the area, she said.

Zylinski said he hopes that his speaking out will get something done.

“I’m just at a loss for this problem existing in these times,” he said. “You have people out on the country roads picking up papers and stuff. I have all the respect for them.

“Then you have to live next to this.”

Brian Rittmeyer is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Brian at 724-226-4701, [email protected] or via Twitter @BCRittmeyer.


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Brian C. Rittmeyer | Tribune-Review
Garbage is dumped behind empty homes in an alley between Spruce and Walnut streets in Harrison’s Natrona neighborhood on Friday, Feb. 8, 2019.
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Brian C. Rittmeyer | Tribune-Review
Tires are among the garbage dumped behind empty homes in an alley between Spruce and Walnut streets in Harrison’s Natrona neighborhood on Friday, Feb. 8, 2019.
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Brian C. Rittmeyer | Tribune-Review
Harrison officials say there are no cameras, and nothing identifiable has been found, to help authorities catch the people dumping garbage in Conrad Zylinski’s Natrona neighborhood. Photographed on Friday, Feb. 8, 2019.