(BATAVIA, Ohio) — A local waste hauler is facing possible prison time after pleading guilty to environmental crimes after an investigation by Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost found he was illegally dumping the waste on his personal property.
Donald W. Combs, 52, Milford, entered guilty pleas this week to eight felonies including: three counts of illegal open dumping of solid waste, two counts of illegal operation of a solid waste facility without a license, two counts of violating Ohio EPA director of environmental protection orders and one count of illegal open burning of solid wastes.
“This garbage man drove off with your trash, but was never headed to a landfill,” Yost said. “Actions have consequences and he will now have to pay for the mess he made.”
All of the offenses occurred at an unlicensed landfill adjacent to Combs’s home in a residential neighborhood at 1779 Parker Road and at his unlicensed commercial site of his waste hauling business at 1503 State Route 28 in Goshen Township.
Clermont County Common Pleas Judge Victor Haddad accepted the guilty pleas and ordered a presentence investigative report.
In March 2020, the Clermont County Grand Jury indicted Combs on 11 felony counts and a misdemeanor charge for environmental crimes committed at the Parker Road and State Route 28 unlicensed sites.
Combs illegally dumped thousands of pounds of waste he hauled away for four years. He solicited waste hauling business mostly by answering ads on Craigslist and undercut competitors who factored in the appropriate costs of properly dumping solid waste in a licensed landfill.
Some of the piles of solid waste, which were comingled with construction & demolition debris, were more than 20 feet high and the cleanup cost for the sites is estimated at nearly $1.3 million.
Combs also pleaded guilty to open burning solid waste at the Parker Road site in March 2019. The Goshen Township Fire Department responded to his residential property and found an unattended fire.
Firefighters extinguished the solid waste fire, preventing it from spreading to adjacent residences.
While free on bond in his first criminal case, Combs disregarded Ohio EPA orders prohibiting him from hauling waste to his unlicensed State Route 28 site.
A Clermont County Grand Jury indicted Combs again in December for violating Ohio EPA orders. Combs entered guilty pleas to two counts of violating Ohio EPA orders in his second criminal case.
Combs is scheduled to appear for sentencing in both criminal cases on May 27 in Clermont County Common Pleas Court.
Both criminal investigations were conducted by the Bureau of Criminal Investigation’s Environmental Enforcement Unit of the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, and the criminal environmental cases are being handled by prosecutors from Yost’s Environmental Enforcement Section.