The Kephart Trucking Co. got swept up in Pennsylvania''s efforts to improve environmental enforcement efforts, a move that could cost the company as much as $143,600.
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) cited Kephart, of Bigler, Pa., for 113 waste transportation violations discovered last May during "Operation Clean Sweep," a week-long program emphasizing highway safety. In that one week alone, the state found a total of over 11,000 violations, and issued some $2 million in fines to waste haulers and truck drivers.
"Through Operation Clean Sweep, Pennsylvania has sent a powerful message that we will not tolerate unsafe trucks on our highways," says DEP Secretary David E. Hess. "This penalty underscores our resolve to make Pennsylvania highways a safer place and to continue our tough enforcement efforts against waste haulers."
From May 21 to May 29, 2001, 500 inspectors from DEP, the Pennsylvania State Police and the Department of Transportation conducted Operation Clean Sweep, the state''s largest-ever environmental enforcement effort. It involved surprise inspections of trash trucks at 63 sites, including every landfill. In all, DEP inspected more than 31,000 trucks.
The Kephart trucks were found to have 49 violations for leaking waste; 37 violations for improperly covered or enclosed waste; 20 violations for overweight vehicles; three violations for failure to have a municipal waste log; two violations for improper waste identification signs; and two violations for failure to have a fire extinguisher.
The violations were discovered at the Conestoga Landfill in Berks County; Alliance Landfill in Lackawanna County; CBF Landfill in Fayette County; Greenridge Landfill in Westmoreland County; Greentree Landfill in Elk County; and Shade Landfill in Somerset County.
The $143,604 civil penalty will become final following a 30-day public comment period that ends on April 8.
On Jan. 23, Gov. Schweiker unveiled a list of substantial legislative, policy and educational initiatives to combat dangerous driving in order to make Pennsylvania''s highways and work zones safer. Some of the initiatives targeted environmental concerns. The initiatives include:
Holding more frequent and random heavy-truck and waste-hauler inspections;
- Targeting aggressive drivers;
- Exploring ways to improve driver education for both heavy truck and automobile drivers;
- Promoting more education and public awareness campaigns to ensure heavy-truck drivers, automobile drivers and work-zone employees share responsibility in making roadways safe;
- Requiring all commercial drivers to take a knowledge test before obtaining a commercial driver permit for Class A or B; and
- Examining how points and fines are given to all drivers committing violations in work zones.
For more information on solid waste issues, visit www.state.pa.us, keyword: "targeting trash."
by Sandy Smith ([email protected])