Illegal tire dumping is a significant problem in Mansfield and Richland County, according to local residents and officials. (File photo)

MANSFIELD -- Richland County will soon have an environmental enforcement officer.

The Richland County Solid Waste Management Authority board on Wednesday approved the hiring of an environmental officer, which would help reduce illegal dumping throughout the county.

In late November, solid waste district authority Director Eddie Hale told county commissioners he planned to visit townships around the county  to gauge interest in the position.

"It's something we continually look at," Hale said at the time. "I plan on visiting all 18 townships to get input from them and see what their thoughts are.

"We still have it on the backburner. We need to do some more research," he said then.

The authority's five-year, 210-page plan, approved in 2020, includes the position, which will be a deputy in the Richland County Sheriff's Office.

The RCSWA will work with Sheriff Steve Sheldon to assign a deputy to the position, who will work anywhere in the county, including the City of Mansfield.

The deputy's duties will include investigating illegal litter dumping activity and identification of unlicensed trash haulers in the county.

The position will take effect in April and the deputy will be introduced at the Earth Stewardship kickoff.

"There is a potential to reintroduce this program during the planning period if funding is available. The (Richland County Solid Waste Management Authority) would hire a deputy sheriff to patrol for and respond to litter complaints," according to the solid waste district's five-year plan.

"The emphasis would be on roadside dumping but the deputy could also respond to or refer open dumping complaints to the Health Department or Ohio EPA," it said.

The City of Mansfield had expressed a strong interest in the position being filled. When City Council approved the solid waste district plan in 2020, Mayor Tim Theaker said he hoped an officer would be hired.

"The Solid Waste District has the money. It's in the plan. This (deputy) could work with the courts and get (violators) prosecuted and reduce illegal dumping in this area, especially in the city," Theaker said.

Illegal dumping was one of the issues raised early in 2020 in a four-part series on trash hauling and illegal dumping problems in Mansfield.


Support Our Journalism

Our reporting empowers people to individually and collectively achieve progress in our region. Help make free, local, independent journalism sustainable by becoming a Source Member.

City editor. 30-year plus journalist. Husband. Father of 3 grown sons and also a proud grandpa. Prior military journalist in U.S. Navy, Ohio Air National Guard. -- Favorite quote: "Where were you when the page was blank?"