More than 20 percent of the trash trucks inspected in Pennsylvania during last week's Trashnet, a surprise inspection program for waste trucks, were found to have environmental or safety violations.

The Department of Environmental Protection and the State Police found 686 waste and safety violations.
DEP inspected 704 trash trucks pulled off the road at 15 sites in nine Pennsylvania counties. Officials found 160 of the 704 trucks inspected had a total of 212 waste violations, including inadequate waste containment, improper signage, fire extinguishers, failure to maintain accurate waste logs and failure to have residual waste cleanup plans.
Pennsylvania State Police inspected 411 trucks, putting 96 of them out of service and 19 drivers out of service. Pennsylvania State Police also issued 40 citations for overweight vehicles; 31 for faulty brakes; 11 for faulty steering, suspension or tires; and 12 citations for unsecured loads.
Department of Environmental Protection Secretary James Seif said the numbers "underscore the need for the General Assembly to pass Gov. Ridge's plan to get tough on trash."
Gov. Ridge's plan (House Bill 747) calls for all municipal waste transporters operating vehicles in Pennsylvania with a gross vehicle weight of more than 56,000 pounds to receive approval from the Commonwealth to help ensure they meet environmental and safety requirements.
This would give Pennsylvania for the first time the ability to prohibit a transporter with a bad compliance record from operating. Also, depending on size, a fee of $1,500 to $5,000 per vehicle would be imposed on the transporter to help finance an expanded waste-truck inspection program.
Trashnets also were conducted in Delaware, Maryland, New York, New Jersey, Virginia and the District of Columbia. This is the fourth time DEP has participated in the multi-state inspection since 1999. So far this year, DEP has conducted 62 Trashnet inspections throughout the state. During those inspections, 3,009 trucks have been checked, and 674 -- or 22.4 percent -- have had a total of 918 violations.