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Ohio garbage man pleads guilty to dumping trash, waste on his own property

(MILFORD, Ohio) — An Ohio man whose job it was to collect trash has pleaded guilty to several charges related to dumping that garbage and other illegal waste at a makeshift landfill on his own property.

The man, 52-year-old Donald Combs of Milford, Ohio, could face possible jail time for picking up thousands of pounds of trash over four years and putting it in the unlicensed landfill adjacent to his home, as well as at an unlicensed commercial site of his waste hauling business in nearby Goshen Township, the Ohio attorney general’s office announced Thursday.

Combs, described by state authorities as a “mass polluter,” would solicit waste-hauling business by placing ads on Craigslist. He also undercut competitors, who factored into their prices “the appropriate costs of properly dumping solid waste in a licensed landfill,” authorities said.

Some of the piles of solid waste, which were mixed in with construction and demolition debris, were more than 20 feet high, authorities said. The cleanup is estimated to cost nearly $1.3 million.

“This garbage man drove off with your trash, but was never headed to a landfill,” Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said in a statement.

Combs pleaded guilty to eight felonies — 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 waste.

In 2019, Combs pleaded guilty to open burning of solid waste at his residential property, authorities said. When the Goshen Township Fire Department responded to his home, they found an unattended fire.

Combs was free on bond from that criminal case when he disregarded orders from the Ohio EPA prohibiting him from hauling waste to his unlicensed property, according to authorities. He was indicted in December and pleaded guilty to two counts of violating EPA orders.

He is scheduled to appear for sentencing for both criminal cases on May 27. An attorney for Combs did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment.

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