Chess Park recycling mess

Scott Beveridge/Observer-Reporter

Nearly 400 discarded televisions and 525 tires were dumped at Chess Park in Monongahela earlier this year.

MONONGAHELA – A state lawmaker has agreed to pay half the cost of removing a mountain of trash that was dumped three weeks ago in a Monongahela park when a spring cleanup effort went awry.

State Rep. Bud Cook issued a news release Thursday in which he promised to pay $3,800 toward the cost of removing the pile of discarded televisions and tires that wound up in Chess Park beside a veterans memorial.

There were 525 tires removed from the park’s pile at a total cost of $1,575, the release said.

The televisions dumped at Chess Park are still being counted and processed at Westmoreland Cleanways near Latrobe.

Cook, R-Daisytown, said he would use his own money to pay toward the bill for the trash removal.

Cook’s Redd Up the Valley cleanup April 28 and 29 was promoted as being part of the Great American Cleanup of Pa., and it invited people to set out household items and listed a number of drop-off locations in the city.

However, his office did not register the cleanup with the organization, and it became an open invitation for people to take TVs and tires to the park, which was listed as a drop-off location for the event.

“We had an emergency in the waste-hauling industry,” said Shannon Reiter, president of Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful, a coordinator of the annual cleanup.

Reiter’s organization stepped in to help get the pile of trash out of downtown Monongahela, because it was considered a health hazard.

She said she paid the bill from Big’s Sanitation of North Belle Vernon, expecting to be fully reimbursed for the $7,600 cost.

“We had to act immediately,” Reiter said Thursday.

Old TV tubes contain lead, and some of them in Monongahela had been broken or removed from their cases before being dumped in the park at Seventh and West Main streets.

“You couldn’t leave that where it was,” said Reiter.

State Sen. Camera Bartolotta, R-Carroll, stepped in and agreed to pay the other half of the bill using her own money, said her spokeswoman, Katrina Anderson. The senator had not been involved in Cook’s cleanup event.

Staff Writer

Scott Beveridge is a North Charleroi native who has lived most of his life in nearby Rostraver Township. He is a general assignments reporter focusing on investigative journalism and writing stories about the mid-Mon Valley.

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