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State removing debris from illegal dump site in Clermont County

Ohio EPA, Press Release

Ohio EPA began removing approximately three acres of illegally dumped construction and demolition debris and trash from a residential property at 1779 Parker Road, Goshen Township, Monday. This action will remove a community eyesore and potential health hazard to the neighborhood.

“Getting to a place where we are able to restore this property has taken over a decade of hard work and commitment from our partners in Clermont County,” Ohio EPA Director Anne Vogel said. “With the help of the county commissioners and prosecutor, Goshen Township trustees and local law enforcement, it is time to clean this site up and return it to the community.”

The property is owned by Donald W. Combs, who currently is serving a four-year prison sentence on eight felonies including illegal dumping of solid waste, illegal operation of a solid waste facility without a license, illegal open burning and violating Ohio EPA cleanup orders.

This cleanup will be a collaboration between Ohio EPA, Goshen Township and Clermont County Prosecutor’s Office, health department and commissioners. Ohio EPA’s contractor, Rumpke of Ohio, will be doing the cleanup at a cost of more than $218,000.

Rumpke will remove an estimated 1,700 tons of material in approximately 10 days. The project is funded by Ohio EPA’s environmental protection remediation fund.

Additionally, Clermont County and Goshen Township plan to remove more than 5,000 tons of illegally dumped solid waste from Mr. Combs’ business property located at 1503 state Route 28, in Goshen Township.

Local and state agencies have spent many years attempting to get Mr. Combs to follow the law and cease open dumping. The Clermont County Health Department first issued orders in 2008 for Mr. Combs related to the state Route 28 property.

In December of 2016, at the request of the local health department, Ohio EPA issued Director’s Final Findings and Orders to Mr. Combs to remove and dispose of an estimated 570,000 cubic yards of solid waste (including 150 scrap tires) on the state Route 28 property, which ultimately led to the matter being referred to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office in September of 2017 due to Mr. Combs’ failure to comply with the orders.

In December 2017, a debris fire occurred at the Parker Road residential property, also owned by Mr. Combs. Ohio EPA coordinated with the Goshen Township Fire Department and government officials and ultimately filed a complaint through the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.

In February 2021, Clermont County Court of Common Pleas issued a judgment finding Mr. Combs liable for violations of Ohio’s environmental laws on both properties and ordering cleanup. A $1.49 million civil penalty was awarded after a March 2021 hearing. Mr. Combs was sentenced to the prison term after failing to comply with the court order to clean up the properties.

Mr. Combs filed bankruptcy and in May 2024, the bankruptcy court allowed the bankruptcy trustee to abandon the Combs properties from the bankruptcy, clearing the path for the township, county and state to move forward with cleanup of both properties.

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