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Elmira Man Arrested For Illegal Dumping In Chemung River

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Note: This post originally appeared on the Friends Of The Chemung River Watershed Facebook Page. 

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An Elmira man was arrested today after police said he dumped a dump-truck-worth of household items into the Chemung River Tuesday night.

Allen L. Blake, 35, of East Center Street., was charged Wednesday with two counts of unlawful disposal of solid waste after police said he dumped trash in the river at the Fitch’s Bridge Boat Launch in Big Flats and the Grove Street Boat Launch in Elmira.

The trash included a vacuum cleaner, a Crockpot, kitchen knives, alarm clocks, computers, an electric sandwich maker, coolers, clothing, toys, a diaper pail and plastic bags of trash. 

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According to police, Blake didn’t want to pay a fee to dispose of the trash at a municipal landfill, and was told by a friend that he could dump it at boat launches. He dumped some of the trash around 11 p.m. Tuesday at Fitch’s Bridge, got spooked by something and drove to Grove Street to throw the remainder of the trash in the river.
If convicted Blake could be fined from $1,500 to $15,000

“How do people think that they can dump trash at a public boat launch next to public drinking supply and wildlife habitat?” said Jim Pfiffer, executive director of Chemung River Friends. “That’s not ignorance, its penny-pinching laziness and environmental disrespect.”

More than 60 percent of our drinking water comes from the river, Pfiffer said. “We find and remove debris dumped on river banks all the time. “This is only the second time in 10 years that we have seen trash thrown in the water.

“The debris was scattered in a few inches of water and a few feet from the geese and ducks that inhabit the launch,” Pfiffer said. “There was a pile of large kitchen knives in the river mud, next to the concrete ramp. If someone had been putting in a boat they could have easily been stabbed.”

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West Elmira volunteer firefighters used kayaks to retrieve the trash bags and other debris that floated downstream from the dumping sites. The mess was cleaned up by employees from the Elmira and town of Elmira public works departments.
The case was investigated by police from Elmira, West Elmira and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. 

“I salute the police,” Pfiffer said. “In a matter of hours, they solved the crime, made an arrest and had the debris removed. 
“River dumping and littering is a continual problem in and along our waterways,” Pfiffer said. “That’s why we work with law enforcement and the public to reduce it and find and prosecute the people who do the dumping. 

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“We are never going to stop the littering,” Pfiffer said. “But arrests, hefty fines and public education can help reduce it.”

As we begin the paddle and outdoor recreation season it is important for the public to help us and police to keep our boat launches, trails and parks safe and fun for family eco-recreation.
River Friends asks anyone who sees or suspects dumping or other illegal activities along our rivers, to call 911. All of us are the eyes and ears to a safe community.

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KarenK    33

Didn't want to pay that "fee" at the landfill.  Gonna cost a few bucks now. Asshat.

  • Like 1

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Mark    91

Since it sounds like he didn't even have to clean up his own mess, I would suggest the fine be on the high side, plus require a year's worth of community service cleaning up, you guessed it, other peoples' messes along the Chemung River.

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Chris    303

I'd also suggest paying for the disposal of others' mess. 

It's bad enough that our back roads, he'l even our main roads, have become pop up landfills. In a local waterway just takes it to another level. 

Scumbags.

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Hal    83

Another fitting idea for punishment , make him stand in a pile of his trash at the corner of Water and Walnut  with a sign reading yup I’m a scumbag river dumper ! After conviction and fines ( full pop ) are levied of course . 

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Mark    91

On the bright side, it looks like they recovered the entire cast of the muppets.  Maybe there'll be another movie ...

  • Haha 1

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