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Environmental crimes unit catching litterbugs in the act

Environmental crimes unit catching litterbugs in the act (WKRC)

CINCINNATI (WKRC) - A new Environmental Crimes Unit in Hamilton County is uncovering hundreds, if not thousands, of spots where people are dumping trash, and some have been caught in the act.

Local 12 first reported on the new unit last month. Hamilton Co. Sheriff's Deputy Caroline Kotlas is the environmental crimes investigator. She spends her day looking into illegal dumpings and digging through trash. One of the hot spots is on Esmonde St. in South Fairmount.

"This is probably a property owner or a land owner or an apartment owner that's getting rid of some debris in the house," Deputy Kotlas said as she looked through the pile.

Kotlas's main focus is on tires but she's found so much more than that including construction debris and old belongings.

"Now that I'm seeing this stuff on a regular basis, it is quite a volume and then the ripple effects that these things have," Kotlas said.

Kotlas siad she's been surprised by the volume of complaints she's received and no neighborhood is immune. Recently, she found a boat, mattress and paint cans dumped in Golf Manor. She also found a stacks of tires dumped on a street corner Walnut Hills. She charged one man with hauling more than 10 tires without and EPA permit which is a felony.

"We're concerned that they could contain hazardous materials or toxic substances could be hidden in some of this trash. It could threaten public water supplies or private water supplies," said Craig Butler, Director of the Ohio EPA.

There are concerns that tires can be breeding grounds for rodents and mosquitoes - which spread disease. Tire fires can also put dangerous chemicals into the air.

Kotlas has also caught litterbugs in the act. She said one man dumped construction debris on Taylor Rd. in Green Twp.

"For those of us that live in Hamilton County, this truly is a quality of life issue," Portune said.

To report illegal dumping click here or call (513) 946-7788.

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