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Philadelphia to Clean Up Huge Trash Heap

July 18, 2003

PHILADELPHIA (AP) _ The city said it will begin a cleanup this week of a 45,000-ton pile of illegally dumped trash and debris that has been smoldering, off and on, for several years.

The garbage, heaped on seven acres of undeveloped land near Philadelphia International Airport, has been a major headache for city firefighters, who have visited it dozens of times to try to extinguish the unseen fire burning within it. Acrid smoke from the blaze has been a source of frequent complaints by residents.

Philadelphia Managing Director Philip Goldsmith said work crews will douse ``hot spots″ in the pile and haul away the extinguished sections.

City officials said in March that it could cost more than $1 million to clean up the 2.8-acre site. A spokeswoman for Mayor John Street said Thursday that she didn’t know how much the city had agreed to pay for the work.

The 10-foot-high hill of junk was created by a city demolition contractor, and was originally located in a residential neighborhood in North Philadelphia before officials had it moved near the banks of the Schuylkill River. It was supposed to have been removed in the 1980s, but never was.

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