The man who raised a big stink in Clermont County is going to jail.
Donald W. Combs, who had been charged with creating landfills in Clermont County where landfills shouldn't have existed, was sentenced to four years in prison by the Clermont County Common Pleas Court, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said in an emailed release Tuesday.
In April, Combs pleaded guilty to 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 Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) director of environmental protection orders and one count of illegal open burning of solid wastes. All counts are felonies, and Ohio law prohibits open burning and dumping.
"Your home might be your castle, but your yard is not your landfill,” Yost said.
The sentencing is part of an ongoing saga for Combs, who lives in Milford. As CityBeat previously reported, Combs and his wife Anita were ordered to pay $1.5 million in civil penalties after a Clermont County Common Pleas Court judge ruled that they had been illegally dumping significant amounts of solid waste near their home while doing business as Ace Dumpsters and Combs Trucking and Land Improvements.
They also dumped at the unlicensed commercial site of Donald Combs’ waste-hauling business in Goshen Township.
The Ohio EPA and Clermont County Public Health referred the case to the AG after receiving numerous complaints about the Combs’ property. The judge found the investigation's evidence “extraordinary.” According to a news release:
The EES [Environmental Enforcement Section] proved that Donald Combs for years covered acres of land near his home and commercial properties with tens of thousands of pounds of construction debris, solid waste, trash and scrap tires. An Ohio EPA inspector testified that some of the piles were over 20 feet high and that cleanup costs for the sites approach nearly $1.3 million.
Goshen Township Fire Department Chief Steve Pegram testified that the fire department had been to Combs’ property numerous times and that the site was a fire hazard.
Donald Combs apparently is a serial dumper. According to a previous news release, a judge had banned Combs from doing business in the waste industry as far back as 2016 because of illegal dumping. After a site Combs had been dumping at erected barricades, he began depositing debris on his own properties.
Combs frequently offered his dumping services on Craigslist, undercutting legitimate waste haulers who charged more because they were paying proper environmental disposal fees.
If all of this sounds remarkable, it shouldn't. In May, career resource Zippia named the grossest states in the country, based on air quality, landfills and an abundance of easily spread illnesses (oh, hello, COVID-19). Ohio came in at No. 13.
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