Ellensburg couple buys their dream home and unearths dumpsite - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Ellensburg couple buys their dream home and unearths dumpsite

Posted: Updated:

ELLENSBURG, Wash. -- An Ellensburg couple buys their first home and unearths a dumpsite. Now they're looking for answers as they try to clean-up the contamination.

Chuck and Peggy Steen bought their American dream, property with potential and a place to raise their horses, instead they unearthed a nightmare.

"We wanted to buy a place that we could fix-up and make our own, put our own stamp on it. We just had no idea the overwhelming problems that we have suffered," said Peggy Steen, homeowner.

As they started clearing brush from the land they found garbage and more garbage.

"We were out walking yesterday and in the past five days we found 4-5 new ones, areas that we thought we had cleaned-up," said Chuck Steen, homeowner.

Investigators with the Department of Ecology and the Department of Health, found household waste buried over a long period of time. Chuck said over five of his eight acres are contaminated. Scrap metal and garbage make it unsafe for the horses. And as they've cleaned the property sink holes have ruined the foundation of the horse barn.

The Steen's say they've exhausted their savings trying to clean-up the property and they've heard little about the environmental investigation.

"It's like they've dropped the ball and all we want to do is clean the place up," said Peggy.

The report states that Kittitas County Code Enforcement is handling this issue. Because it's illegal to bury household trash, county staff are looking to hold the previous property owner responsible. KNDO spoke with the seller, he says doesn't know anything about the dumping.