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Abuse of Westport brush dump forces shut down

WESTPORT The town of Westport has locked the gates on its brush dump. The brush dump was shut down in early October because of use violations. Supervisor Daniel Connell said the town had a license for brush and unpainted lumber, but other items had been brought in and dumped illegally. The violations forced a shut down of the dump on state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) orders. The town will be receiving a fine for violations of its permit, and will also have to spend several thousand dollars to dispose of material to the satisfaction of the DEC. The town of Westport understands the DEC because of their regulations had no choice but to shut the operation down, said Connell. The town previously used an honor system at the dump. Town officials were unable to identify violators, but Connell said people from outside of the town were bringing in items that were not allowed. Town officials met with DEC officials on Oct. 24 to discuss issues related to the brush dump off Ledge Hill Road. We are working on a resolution of the problem with the DEC and we expect in about a month that we will be accepting brush, said Connell. The brush dump was a free service, but upon reopening, the town may end up charging a user fee. The town may end up hiring staff to check the loads being brought in. When we do reopen, it will only be open on a limited basis, and we will only accept brush under a certain diameter, said Connell. Connell added the town would prosecute anyone that dumps material at the gate. The town has requested that law enforcement make periodic checks. Its unfortunate that a few people have spoiled what was a good thing for everyone, said Connell.

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