The cataloging of illegal dump sites is directed by Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful with local support provided by Allegheny CleanWays. Assessments only address "third party" dump sites along public rights of way, not along off road areas or dumps on private property by the landowner. Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful has completed formal assessments of each Western PA county and is currently working on completing several in Central and Eastern PA. As of 2013, all counties have been surveyed. More information about each assessment is available from KPB.
Allegheny CleanWays works with local residents, organizations, businesses, and governments to remove debris dumped within Allegheny County.
The Tireless Project is a collaboration of individuals and local organizations committed to stewardship of the rivers and streams of Allegheny County. The program was launched in 2003 by the Three Rivers Rowing Association in partnership with Nat Stone, a free-lance writer and rower who was horrified by the enormous volume of tires along the city's riverbanks when he rowed through on his adventure from New York City to New Orleans. Since its start, 3,748 volunteers have boarded our 28' pontoon boat, the Rachel Carson, and removed 536,530 pounds of debris, including 3,219 tires and 22,660 pounds of metal and other recyclables, from our riverbanks and streams.
Developed with a volunteer in response to his daily efforts to rid the city of dumping, this new program has revolutionized our ability to clean up illegal dump sites and interact with local residents.
Made up of only a handful of volunteers (anywhere from 1-8 people on any given day), the DumpBusters crew is able to work 7 days a week, 12 months a year. They tackle illegal dumps of all sizes and remove an average of 900-1200 lbs of debris daily. The DumpBusters crew also provides expertise to communities wanting to clean up difficult sites, assists in large events by doing prep work and/or returning to the site to finish the job, and is readily "on call" to respond to new dumping incidents. To date, our DumpBusters crew has removed almost 600 tons of debris (including more than 9,000 tires) from the city of Pittsburgh and the surrounding areas. Contact DumpBuster Coordinator Joe Divack at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested. People with no prior experience are welcome.
Illegal Dump Cleanup Events
The cornerstone of our organization and our parent organization, Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful, our illegal dump cleanup events typically engage a large number of volunteers in cleaning up illegal dump sites. Cleanups vary widely, however. Some involve volunteers or equipment, and some involve both. Volunteer safety is the primary concern at every cleanup. Safe cleanup strategies have been developed to address the potential risks in removing broken glass, rusted metal, furniture, vehicles, construction debris, and tires from steep slopes and waterways. Equipment is used when volunteers' welfare could be at risk or people power alone is not enough. Since our beginning in 2000, we have removed 631 tons of debris, including more than 9,000 tires and 55 tons of scrap metal and other recyclables from the landscape through our illegal dump cleanup events.
Greenways are linear corridors of open space, linking our parks and open spaces to each other and to the places where we live. Some greenways are land trails for hiking, biking, and other forms of recreation. Others are water trails. Still others serve to protect the environment and aren't designed for people to use. Because of their remote character, areas that were designated as greenways are likely to have been historic dumping sites. Allegheny CleanWays continues to work with state agencies, local residents, and other organizations to remove debris from and restore the health of the region's Greenways.
Community Support & Litter Abatement
Allegheny CleanWays provides training and equipment to community groups trying to fight litter in their neighborhood. Cleanup Coordinator Workshops provide valuable details on how to plan and implement a community cleanup. Allegheny CleanWays also serves as a distributor for PennDOT of gloves, bags, and safety vests needed to get the job done.
- Partners Against Littered Streets (PALS) is a program through which Allegheny CleanWays provides kits of materials to community groups for frequent light litter cleanups. Kits contain safety vests printed with the PALS insignia as well as several types of cleaning equipment.
- Roadway Adoption: Receive equipment and technical support to adopt a section of a county or municipal roadway to keep it litter-free through the Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful Adoption Program.
Education & Prevention
Littering and illegal dumping won’t stop just because people clean up the debris. It must be stopped at the source. Allegheny CleanWays conducts outreach and education programs and is initiating a variety of programs designed to further help prevent these crimes from happening.
- Litter IQ Board. The Litter I.Q. Board is an interactive electronic display that creates litter awareness while educating the user about the life expectancy of discarded items. The board displays 12 common litter items and lists 11 possible decomposition times, ranging from "up to 2 years" to "indefinitely". The challenge is to match the item with the correct decomposition time. When the correct match is made, a buzzer sounds.
- Recycling IQ Board. The Recycling I.Q. Board is a fun, interactive, educational tool that allows the participant to match items that would be thrown away to items that can be made from the materials if they are properly recycled. When a correct match is made, a buzzer sounds, and the arrows, representing the recycling symbol, light up and spin around.
- Educational Materials. As an affiliate of Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful, we can provide educational materials for groups looking for environmentally-based curriculum and teaching guides for children and teens.
Stewardship and Beautification
Beautification and stewardship are integral in helping to change the perception of a site that has been cleaned and keeping it from becoming trashed again. Each site we clean is evaluated for how to best restore it and keep it clean. In some cases, we work with other organizations to plant trees, native plants and shrubs or to install gardens on the site. In other cases, we work with local residents to monitor and steward the site.
Stewardship is the management and protection of something considered worth caring for and preserving. Volunteers may monitor former dumpsites, restore the ecological health of green spaces, or adopt roadways through Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful.
Levels of Involvement
Site Monitor: Visually assess former dumpsites to see if more dumping has occurred. Communicate regularly with ACW to confirm that the area remains clean.
Site Steward: Actively clean up litter and minor dumping in the area to avoid attracting more debris, in addition to visually monitoring the site.
Urban EcoSteward: Adopt a small section of land to correct problems that might exist on the site, in addition to preventing re-dumping and litter accumulation. This enables us to help improve the overall health and natural value of the land. Urban EcoStewards receive one-on-one training on the site they have chosen to steward and attend free group trainings on relevant issues. Training workshops cover such topics as invasive plant identification and removal techniques, wildflower identification, erosion control, native shrub and tree identification, native seed collection, and techniques for leading a crew of volunteers.