Altona A lonely stretch of pot-holed road has become a garbage-filled forest, and the town board is looking to catch the trash-tossers with a surveillance system.
An uninhabited length of Brunell Road, between Miner Farm Road and the Military Turnpike, is strewn with all manner of garbage. Old luggage and broken VHS tapes swim in pools of snowmelt. A soggy mattress rots next to a stark white deer skeleton. Plastic trash bags are broken on the roadside, spilling junk into the roadside brush.
Town Councilman Joey Snide said the most dumping seems to happen on the weekends, especially early Saturday mornings. It’s hard to catch someone in the act, but if they’re coming in and out of there with a pickup, suspicions are high for illegal dumping.
Town Supervisor Larry Ross said the emptiness of the road is why it’s so abused by dumpers. Getting cameras out there would hopefully deter people from dumping at all, and maybe catch some of the scofflaws unaware.
“If we could catch somebody, I think it would put an end to it,” said Ross.
It’s very difficult to catch people red-handed, said Clinton County Sheriff Patrol Lieutenant Paul Risetto. The dumping places are often like that untended stretch of Brunell Road — near a well-traveled highway but largely dark and uninhabited. Spots in Saranac, Mooers and Ellenburg are known dumping spots, too. Those conditions give the dumpers plenty of time to make sure they’re alone. If they dump in the darker hours, they’ll see the headlights of an approaching car long before they’re spotted breaking the law.
Most charges are a violation of Clinton County local law. First offenses for that can reach $500 and 15 days in jail. Offenders caught twice in a year can be charged with a misdemeanor, $1,000 in fines and six months in jail. Added to the fines are fees avoided at the landfill by dumping and the cleanup costs of the highway department.