MOUNT VERNON — Anyone who illegally dumps items at the compost facility on Thayer Road had better smile while they do it.
Randy Canterbury, coordinator for Knox County Recycling & Litter Prevention, told the county commissioners on Tuesday that several surveillance cameras are being installed to help curtail illegal dumping at the site.
“It's pretty exciting because we will be able to monitor it right on the computer [in the office],” he said, adding that Knox County Sheriff Capt. Jay Sheffer has been “very instrumental on the law enforcement end of it.”
County Administrator Jason Booth said that with information collected via the cameras, the county will now be able to prosecute offenders. The concern is not so much with offenders who might drop off a tree bigger than the 10-inch-diameter maximum, but with those who dump items such as bags of trash, tires, and mattresses.
The surveillance cameras were funded through an Ohio Environmental Protection Agency grant. In addition to the cameras, a security alarm, electric, and lighting have been installed. A cement pad was poured for a donated storage building.
Canterbury said he planned to cancel the county's contract with Republic for trash and recycling and seek bids from other haulers, but he missed the time frame specified for notification. He wanted to seek bids for three reasons:
- Republic raised the billing rate 3%.
- Republic said it was discontinuing mixed recycling at the Knox County Fair.
- Republic offers no mixed recycling at the Knox County Service Center, which means Canterbury has to haul away the recyclables.
Canterbury said that after discussion, in order to keep the county's business, Republic agreed to continue providing mixed recycling at the fair and institute mixed recycling at the service center. Canterbury plans on requesting proposals next year.
Knox County Recycling is partnering with the Brown Family Environmental Center to host a recycling sculpture contest for Earth Day in April.
“This is my way of reaching out to the kids,” explained Canterbury. “We're reaching out to art classrooms in grades six through eight and grades 9 through 12 in all of the school districts. They have to come up with a sculpture animal of some sort, and it can only be made with things that can be recycled in the county.”
Two classrooms have registered thus far. Staff from Knox County Recycling and the BFEC will judge the entries based on creativity and the number of recyclables used. Prizes include a pizza party and art supplies for the winning classroom.
Other Earth Day events include paper shredding, sponsored by Knox County Recycling and CES Credit Union, and electronics and Styrofoam collection on Saturday, April 25, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. in the service center parking lots.
The Kokosing River Cleanup is set for Sept. 26. Canterbury will help the Mohican Area Growth Foundation with the Mohican River Cleanup on Sept. 12. He has submitted OEPA grant requests for these events as well as Recycle Right Flyers.
Canterbury officially announced his retirement date as Jan. 12, 2021. He proposed, and the commissioners agreed, to hire a candidate in November 2020 to allow for an overlapping training period. Three candidates have expressed interest.