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Feb 28, 2012 12:09 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Westhampton Beach Village Might Crack Down On Garbage Bandits

Feb 29, 2012 11:13 AM

Every garbage rule you break, they’ll be watching you.

The Westhampton Beach Village Department of Public Works is ready to crack down on those who are dumping their household garbage in the public receptacles that line Main Street and Mill Road, as well as bins set up in municipal parking lots, parks and beaches.

Even though the offenders are technically not littering, since the trash is going into a receptacle, village officials said they want to start punishing those who are using the village’s garbage cans as their personal dumping grounds. In fact, a public hearing to put a law on the books that would redefine household garbage—a move that will allow the village to start fining those who are dumping their food scraps and non-recyclables in cans set aside for shoppers and visitors—is on the agenda for this Thursday night’s Village Board meeting at Village Hall. The meeting begins at 7 p.m.

“The definition of refuse does not include household garbage,” Mayor Conrad Teller said this week, referring to the current village code. As a result, he explained that those caught either on video or red-handed dumping their household trash in the village’s garbage cans cannot be fined for the offense.

But that could change soon.

While those who litter can now be fined up to $250 per offense, that penalty could eventually include those who dump their household garbage into public trash cans. According to John Kearns, superintendent of Westhampton Beach DPW, some of the garbage collected by his crews is coming from all over, including households along Dune Road, in neighboring Quogue Village and even as far away as Remsenburg.

As a result, the garbage pails constantly overflow with 
refuse, even in the winter months. Mr. Kearns told Village Board members at their most recent work session that, on some collection days, his crews find litter scattered all over the sidewalk.

DPW employees have even caught some people in the act of dumping their household garbage in the cans, according to Mr. Kearns. He explained that one of his workers saw a woman put a white kitchen garbage bag into a receptacle near the post office and approached her, making her take the bag back.

“A lot of times we’ll open [the bags] up and, if we find a piece of mail, we’ll put [the trash] back on their porches,” Mr. Kearns said. He added that some of the more clever violators make sure that their names and addresses are removed from all documents before throwing them in the trash.

While he is not positive why there has been an uptick in such dumping, Mr. Kearns suspects that violators are simply trying to avoid paying fees at the Southampton Town transfer station. Westhampton Beach and Southampton Town residents do not have garbage collection services and, therefore, must either hire private garbage carters to haul away their trash or pay to dump their own refuse at the town’s transfers stations, the closest of which is located on Old Country Road in Westhampton. The station offers free disposal for recycled materials, but town-issued bags must be purchased for household garbage. Five one-time use bags cost $14.50.

Florence and Jim Flood, who have owned Westhampton T-Shirts on Main Street in Westhampton Beach for the past 31 years, said they have seen people dumping their household garbage in pails near their store many times.

“Not only should they be fined, they should be hung,” said Mr. Flood, who added that his taxes pay for the Main Street garbage collection.

The village DPW oversees the maintenance of some 70 trash receptacles in Westhampton Beach and all are emptied five times a week during the off-season and twice a day during the summer months. The work is done by two employees. The collected garbage is brought to the village DPW yard off Old Riverhead Road and later hauled off by a private company.

The village pays $49.50 for every yard of garbage that must be removed and, during the 2010-11 fiscal year, spent a total of $11,563.05 on garbage removal.

“Technically, it’s not littering, but it’s still taking advantage of the system and people need to be held responsible for it,” Mr. Kearns said on Friday.

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Thats nothing go down to North Sea Beach on a Monday morning people put their crap (literally and figurtevly) all over the place. And the garbage can has been gone since just after Labor Day weekend. Bunch of slobs!!!!!!!!!
By Local dad (51), North Sea on Feb 29, 12 6:04 PM
1 member liked this comment
You Sir are right! It is off topic to the article but you are most certainly right. They just posted pics of trash at the North Sea beach and I can only say that it is heinous that people would ever do that. It looks like a mess from an after prom. It is also a sad state of affairs that a local resident has to address the mess.
By Hambone (510), New York on Mar 11, 12 10:59 PM
It's theft of services! We have to pay for a dumpster for the business. Weekenders put their garbage in and we deliver it back to their front lawn. This happens almost every weekend in the summer. Now we are going to mount a camera.
People deposit their garbage on dead end streets and wooded areas of the neighborhood.
I was sitting in my car by the movie theater and a women dropped a whole bag of garbage from food out of her car window...soda, ice and all!
If caught, these slobs ...more
By eastend2 (4), hampton bays on Feb 29, 12 7:03 PM
Please stop commenting. You are making other trolls look smart.
1. It is not theft of services. That would only apply if you were in the garbage hauling business.
2. As for the woman who dropped garbage out the window I presume that hit the ground and not the bottom of a DPW trashcan. The article is about throwing household garbage into public trashcans, not littering.
3. The article clearly notes that this is happening in the winter time (and presumable summer) and is not solely ...more
By Hambone (510), New York on Mar 1, 12 12:11 PM
It is also about people improperly disposing of garbage in an area where not everyone is a full time resident.
Obviously you took my comment personally...I wonder why?
By eastend2 (4), hampton bays on Mar 2, 12 10:03 AM
Hambone go back to city.
By Local dad (51), North Sea on Mar 1, 12 3:40 PM
3 members liked this comment
Why so you can throw your garbage in my unwatched trash cans?
By Hambone (510), New York on Mar 2, 12 4:05 PM
No garbage pick up.................... Where exactly do our taxes go? Hey Mr Kearns with garbage bags at 14 bucks for 5 what do expect people to do in hard times? Not everyone is an overpaid dpw supervisor like yourself. I love when goverment says they are going to punish the people who are paying their salaries. Go back to leaning on a shovel ...lol
By chief1 (2737), southampton on Mar 5, 12 9:23 PM
Hey Chief1, sounds like you should see someone on those anger issues!
By Sug Tonmi (25), southampton on Mar 6, 12 7:48 PM
Does anyone actually read the article before they type?

The article is more about changing a law than it is being punitive. Lest we forget it's a good thing that people are throwing trash into the proper receptacle. Heck if they didn't it sounds like we'd end up like North Sea.

By Hambone (510), New York on Mar 6, 12 11:18 PM
Listen, just 'cause the dump has been in North Sea for, I don't know, 80 years...

Tain't us "locals" leavin' all the trash on the side of the road.

I hope...
By Mr. Z (11418), North Sea on Mar 7, 12 1:56 AM
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