County official raps E. Marlborough over recycling law failure

State DEP, Chester County say township has been out of compliance with recycling rules for a decade: $20,000 in grant money withheld

By Mike McGann, Editor,
EAST MARLBOROUGH — The state Department of Environmental Protection has a message for the township: a decade is long enough to be out of compliance with the state’s recycling laws.

Nancy Fromnick, Chester County’s recycling coordinator attended Monday night’s Township Supervisors meeting with the intent of getting the township moving toward compliance — and about $20,000 in state grant money DEP is holding up until the township meets state requirements.

East Marlborough is required to both document its efforts on recycling — residents and business must participate in curbside recycling, or document when recycling materials go — and communicate the recycling rules twice a year with residents and businesses when it went over 5,000 residents in the 2000 Census. The township also needs to pass an ordinance specifying the rules and enforcement measures for the recycling plan. While it is already thought that most residents and businesses in the township recycle, there is no documentation, currently.

As yet, the township has failed to comply with the law, which has been in place since 1988, Fromnick said, despite efforts from her office to get it to do so.

“You’ve had 10 years to do this,” Fromnick told the supervisors. “I’m just the messenger from DEP.”

Currently, some 39 townships, boroughs and cities in the county fall under this requirement, and Fromnick said only four, including East Marlborough, are not meeting the requirements of the state law. The failure to comply is keeping $20,000 in state money, plus ongoing bonuses for recycling amounts out of the township’s coffers.

Township officials seemed frustrated with the requirements — including a lot of reporting and additional paperwork — and some of the exchanges between Fromnick and Township Manager Jane Laslo were a bit on the testy side — and the two sparred over what has transpired in recent years on efforts to get East Marlborough to comply.

“It’s not really a matter of compliance,” Laslo said. “It’s a matter of documentation.”

Fromnick said she or staff from DEP were willing to come in and help the township put the program in place and get things moving — and offer she said has been made numerous times in the past. The township must also spell out the recycling rules to residents and businesses twice a year.

Notification can be placed on the township’s Web site — good for one of the yearly notifications — but a second, printed notice must also be sent out. Although there was some initial discussion about including the notice in township tax bills, but that was later ruled out, as too much information would need to be included.

Currently, the township doesn’t have a newsletter — as many surrounding communities do — leaving them without a simple way to communicate issues to the public. Although no numbers were cited at the meeting, sources in the local publishing world suggest printing, design and mailing for such a newsletter would cost less than $2,000, possibly a lot less, depending on format.

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