Cartwright Salvage Company and its owner have been indicted on felony charges for allegedly disposing solid wastes on their property and operating a transfer facility without a license.
The automobile salvage and garbage removal company, located at 839 Bogus Road Northeast in Washington C.H., is charged with open burning or open dumping, operating a solid waste facility without a license, and operating a solid waste transfer facility without a license, all unclassified felonies. The owner/operator of the company, Loren Cartwright, has been indicted on the same counts.
The Ohio Attorney General’s Office has been assigned to prosecute the case following an investigation by the Fayette County Health Department and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). According to authorities, the site on Bogus Road has essentially been used as a landfill from April 21, 2015 to Feb. 2 of this year.
“We’ve been working diligently with Cartwright Salvage to get this cleaned up,” said Leigh Cannon, deputy health commissioner at the Fayette County Health Department. “It has been used as a transfer station without a license. A huge pile of household garbage has accumulated in a pile that’s approximately 25-feet high and 50-feet long.”
The situation was first brought to the attention of health department officials on April 21, 2015 when a structural fire broke out on the property. The fire was reported by a passer-by at 3:44 a.m. and the blaze was finally extinguished around 5 p.m. the same day.
“The best guess at the moment is spontaneous combustion,” Washington C.H. Fire Capt. Larry McGarvey said following the fire.“ Anytime you have a big pile of organic material, spontaneous combustion is a real possibility.”
After a representative from the Fayette County Health Department inspected the area, the Ohio EPA was contacted concerning the presence of the massive, combustible trash pile.
For many years, Cartwright Salvage has requested a transfer facility license, according to Cannon, but the requirements have not been met. The health department also did not renew Cartwright’s hauling license as of Jan. 1 of this year because the waste problem was not resolved.
“We have been making regular site visits and the dumping was still occurring,” said Cannon.
At the conclusion of the EPA investigation, it was determined that criminal charges would be filed. The case has now been assigned to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office to serve as special prosecutors. The grand jury returned an indictment late last week.
An arraignment hearing is scheduled for both the company and Loren Cartwright on April 18 at 1 p.m. in Fayette County Common Pleas Court.
Reach Ryan Carter at 740-313-0352 or on Twitter @rywica