Pennsylvania Agency Fines Waste Hauler $5.7 Million

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) fined Fredrick D. Thebes and his sons, Christopher Thebes and Douglas Thebes, the owners of Fred D. Thebes & Sons Inc. and Dynamite Disposal Inc., $5.7 million for illegally disposing waste on their property in Centre Township, Perry County, officials announced on Oct. 3.

"The penalty is based on the amount of waste that was dumped illegally and intentionally on the Thebes' property," said Rachel Diamond, DEP's South central regional director. "The Thebes displayed a deliberate intention to use their property as an illegal landfill."

In May 2006, DEP received several complaints of burning activity and what appeared to be a dumpsite on Thebes' property. DEP inspectors found three large trenches, one measuring approximately 12 feet long and 20 feet deep, containing garbage and the distinct blue bags used by Perry County residents to dispose of garbage.

Thebes operated a trash collection service, Dynamite Disposal, which was the primary waste hauler for Perry County.

On Nov. 15, 2006, DEP and the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General excavated multiple sites on the Thebes property. Based upon that search and a subsequent search this past March, DEP estimated that between 4,363 to 15,150 tons of solid waste had been dumped at the Thebes site, in addition to the three trenches discovered in May.

The department filed a complaint in the Perry County Court of Common Pleas citing the illegal transportation and disposal of solid waste and ordered the company to cease hauling operations by Dec. 31, 2006.

On May 4, 2007, the department issued an administrative order to the Thebes requiring the owners to clean up the property. To date, the Thebes have not complied with the order.

In June, the state attorney general charged Frederick Thebes with two felony criminal counts of violating the state's clean streams law and seven misdemeanor counts of violating the solid waste management act.

Douglas and Christopher Thebes were each charged with seven counts of unlawful conduct under the solid waste management act, which are third-degree misdemeanors.

This article originally appeared in the 10/01/2007 issue of Environmental Protection.

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