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Nevada County trash task force reports positive results

Keri Brenner
Staff Writer

Trash pickup, management and compliance with local laws have improved greatly since a new Nevada County task force began work on the issue of roadside litter last fall, officials say.

Jon Scadden of Penn Valley, the task force organizer, attributed the improvement to stepped-up enforcement by the local California Highway Patrol office and the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office, as well as increased public awareness through a series of articles in The Union. Also receiving kudos were improved efforts by staff at the transfer station on McCourtney Road to make sure people transporting trash cover their loads, keeping litter under control.

“This is a great reason that the trash issue has been reduced so drastically,” Scadden said of the police activities.

“Along with the great work the transfer station has done by keeping the trash picked up and (the newspaper’s) keeping the public informed.”

Scadden said other than a continuing problem with people not tying down trash can lids properly, many more residents were being more careful in transporting their trash — especially in the key area of covering their loads.

“I personally spoke with a family one day when I noticed that their pickup truck was loaded with a bunch of plastic bags full of trash without any cover at all,” Scadden said.

“When I explained it to them, they happily turned around and went to a hardware store to purchase a tarp.”

Scadden’s remarks came after reports filed by CHP spokesman Greg Tassone and Sheriff’s Lt. Stephen Tripp on enforcement efforts.

Over a recent seven-day period. CHP officers spent 13 hours of targeted enforcement on trash and litter control issues, Tassone said. During that time, 14 citations and four verbal warnings were issued out of 27 total recorded contacts, he said.

“The other (nine) contacts were educational or assistive in nature,” Tassone said.

Tassone said most of the seven days had “substantial traffic, which means there was a relatively high level of compliance overall.”

Tripp, meanwhile, reported that his officers issued three warnings during a three-hour targeted enforcement effort. The other 101 people monitored during the effort were in compliance, he said.

“During those three hours, we found there to be a consistent 30 or so vehicles that travel McCourtney each hour,” Tripp said.

In addition to the police enforcement efforts, Nevada County Public Works Director Steve Castleberry, a task force member, reported extra monitoring under way at the McCourtney Road transfer station. The transfer station is operated by Waste Management under a franchise agreement, Castleberry said.

The franchise agreement covers both community trash pickup in the unincorporated area and the operation of the transfer facility.

Nevada County owns the property and is responsible for the maintenance of the closed landfill, he added.

“Since the last task force meeting, Waste Management has been talking to people who show up at the transfer station with uncovered loads, reminding them of the county’s ordinance, and the potential for fines,” Castleberry said, adding that Waste Management staff can’t actually fine someone for an uncovered load — only law enforcement can do that.

Waste Management also prepared a flyer to give to people with uncovered loads, he said.

“I believe (Waste Management staff) have been doing a better job of picking up trash regularly on McCourtney,” Castleberry added.

He said the franchise agreement makes McCourtney Road trash pickup one of Waste Management’s responsibilities.

Scadden said he was pleased with the impact of task force efforts and that he planned to contact additional media to increase public awareness on the issue.

To report trash spills or dumps, call Waste Management at 530-274-3090.

To contact Staff Writer Keri Brenner, email kbrenner@theunion.com or call 530-477-4239.


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