Westport slapped with fine for brush dump

WESTPORT After getting cracked down on by the state Department of Environmental Conservation, the town of Westport is cracking down on the use of its brush dump. At its regular board meeting on Jan. 22, town officials agreed to pay a $500 fine for operating an illegal brush dump. The fine was imposed after repeated abuse, with users depositing items not allowed by the towns permit. Were pleased we were able to negotiate down to $500. It could have been into the thousands, said Supervisor Daniel Connell. The fine was on top of more than $20,000 in clean-up costs. The brush dump was shut down more than three months ago. Paying the fine cleared the way for the town to re-open the site, but usage rules are going to be much more stringent. The towns permit only allows brush and yard debris three inches or less in width. Even unpainted wood will not be accepted. One of the things is they're going to watch us like a hawk - we take a six-inch, instead of a three-inch, the fines going to be in the thousands, said Connell. After discussion, the board agreed to create guidelines for use of the brush dump. The dump, which previously operated on an honor system, will now be locked. Users must bring their loads to the transfer station to be inspected, sign a log book, and then will be presented with a key to unlock the site. Users will have to lock the gate behind them as they deposit their load to prevent another person from bypassing the transfer station check. After leaving their brush behind, users must return the key to the transfer station. The brush dump will reopen on Feb. 6. Since loads must be inspected at the transfer station, the brush dump will only be open on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Town Clerk Brenda McCooey said shed been approached about getting volunteers involved. I was asked if the town would think about having volunteers think about going up to open the brush dump, said McCooey. Connell said it was possible to have volunteers help out, but doubted anyone would step forward. The problem, he said, was inspectors would have to enforce the regulations. I can't imagine a volunteer taking the kind of slack they're going to get, said Connell. Councilman Michael Tyler said 90 percent of items that had previously been brought to the brush dump wouldnt be accepted items. He called the new permit a joke, but agreed to try operating the dump. We've got to make sure everyone involved knows this is a one-chance deal. As soon as we get stuff in there that's not supposed to be, we're going to close down, said Tyler. Connell said he felt the long-term answer to brush problems was for several towns to get together for shared services to purchase a large chipper. We obviously aren't going out and buying a $300,000 chipper on our own, said Connell.

Vote on this Story by clicking on the Icon


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment