Donald Combs, of 1503 State Route 28 in Goshen was found guilty of illegal open burning of solid waste, which is a felony under Ohio law.
He also was found guilty of causing or allowing the emission of contaminants from the open burning of solid waste, which is a misdemeanor.
Combs improperly burned piles of waste material on his property more than 12 times between February 28, 2008, and February 28, 2009. The Clermont County Health Department, Hamilton County Department of Environmental Services, Goshen Township Fire Department and the Goshen Township Police Department repeatedly advised Combs to stop burning the solid waste but he continued to do so. The case was investigated by the Ohio EPA Office of Special Investigations and the Ohio Attorney General’s Office Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation (BCI).
After a jury found Combs guilty of both charges, Judge Kenneth Zuk immediately sentenced him to one year in jail on each charge, suspending all of the time except 30 days.
Additionally, Combs must serve five years of community control, including 50 hours of community service, and must pay a $1,000 fine for each charge. He also must reimburse Ohio EPA $4,572.34 and BCI $676.65.
In addition to the criminal sentence, Combs also must comply with a civil injunction to stop dumping waste on his property and comply with Ohio law.
Ohio EPA promotes reuse and recycling; however, state law specifies that people who manage such material must handle it properly.
Open burning of construction debris and/or solid waste is not allowed. Large piles of waste, improperly managed, can harbor vermin, decompose and release noxious odors.
Ohio law strictly regulates illegal dumping of such waste or the open burning of it.