WILKES-BARRE — The state Department of Environmental Protection warned the city Friday about operating a waste transfer station without a permit at its Public Works yard.
An inspector visited the property on North Pennsylvania Avenue after The Times Leader provided DEP with a photo sent by a tipster showing a front-end loader dumping garbage bags into a container.
Prior to loading, the bags were on the ground and the city lacked a permit to store the trash in the yard and transfer it to a container or vehicle for transport to a landfill.
Colleen Connolly, a DEP spokeswoman, said that the city only has a permit for storage tanks at the yard. The DEP told them to stop transferring stored garbage.
“It’s a warning,” Connolly said. “We did speak with them. They told us it was a one-time thing.”
The DEP inspector was informed by the city that it got behind on its trash pickup during the holiday and some residents dropped off their bags at the yard and city added bagged trash from some of its parks, Connolly said.
“To us it didn’t rise to the level of a full-size transfer station,” Connolly said.
The city agreed to work with DEP to prevent it from happening again by directing residents to throw the bags into a container on site, she said.
Connolly said DEP put the city on its watch list, saying “If we catch them doing it again there are going to be problems.”
The newspaper also provided a copy of the photo to the city with a list of questions including, whether the city had a permit to transfer waste, how long it had been doing so and who supplied the container and transported it to a landfill.
City spokeswoman Liza Prokop provided a statement by e-mail: “After looking into the matter, we do not believe that a violation has occurred as we are not operating as a waste transfer facility. The City of Wilkes-Barre typically schedules double trash collection days during holiday weeks, therefore it is not uncommon for the City to use a container service to manage higher volume waste removal.”