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Do you live near a junk yard or do you pass by one everyday? Well-maintained junk yards should be clean, confined to its own property and should not cause any harm to the environment in any way. Junk yard operators are bound by the laws that govern their right to carry permits and licenses and must complete self-audit checklists. As a concerned citizen, it's your right to report any obvious violations that you feel are harming yourself, your family or the environment. The first step should be to contact the junk yard operator. Here are some questions you should be able to get reasonable answers to:
How do you dispose of fuel and oil products?
How do you prevent children and animals from wandering onto the property?
Is the junk yard monitored by surveillance cameras?
Are you regularly audited for environmental compliance?
Sometimes suspicions are unfounded and, hopefully, the junk yard operator will be able to reassure you that they are meeting health, safety and environmental standards. However, a gut feeling may tell you otherwise. If that's the case, and you still suspect wrongdoing, contact your local government officials, or voice your concerns to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Remember to trust your instincts. If you think something is wrong, it probably is.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|