Unauthorized trash dumping a growing problem in county

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN BRENDA CONYERS
People are dumping trash on county roads, in rivers, and in ditches, causing hidden dangers and eyesores, according to Mark Jones, a motor grader operator from Marion.


“There has been a lot of trash dumped around,” he said. We are picking it up, but it’s just not right.”


Jones said workers were finding large appliances, tires, televisions and other house trash. He believes it is being thrown out because people don’t know who to contact for pick-up, what the proper procedure is for disposing of this type of trash, or don’t want to pay any extra fees.


A television set and vacuum cleaner was thrown out onto the ice off a bridge north of Marion and Jones pointed out that while it may have been a prank, it still poses a potential danger to children who jump off the bridge in summer.


“They aren’t suppose to jump off there,” he said. “But they do it anyway sometimes. What if they land on some of that trash? Somebody is going to get hurt one of these days.”


According to David Brazil, county sanitarian, trash dumping happens more often than most people realize.


“Last month someone dumped a couple of appliances and some chain-link fence off the bridge north of Florence, as well as a deer that was skinned, gutted, and ready to have the steaks cut off,” he said.


Brazil says these types of solid-waste dumps are reported once or twice a month. He said people perceive it costs too much to haul the trash to the transfer station.


He said people do not realize the cost of rural dumping to the county.


Brazil said it takes time to fill out necessary documentation, it usually takes at least two county employees to drive out, pick up the trash and take it to the transfer station. The transfer station charges a fee to take it.


“Sometimes it could take up to $300 or $400 to clean up the waste,” he said.


Even though it is hard to find out who is dumping the trash, Brazil said sometimes it is possible. In those cases, an automatic $200 fine is assessed by the sanitation department, not including fines from the other law officials.


According to undersheriff Bob Soyez, after the investigation, any information is turned over to Brazil who then can present it to the county attorney.


If found guilty, a litterer can be fined anywhere up to $500 for littering on public or private property without permission, said Soyez.


Gerald Kelsey, the county’s road and bridge supervisor, agrees there has been an increase in the trash in the last couple of years, particularly with tires since a fee has been added for their disposal.


“Since the state put the tax on it, the charges have just been passed down, and people don’t want to pay for it,” Kelsey said.


He said there has been an increase in the number of large appliances found in ditches recently, but the number of tires has been “astronomical.”


“We have picked up about 25 appliances in the last couple of years and 300 to 400 tires,” Kelsey said. “It is a big problem.”


Rex Savage of K.C. Development, owner-operator of the transfer station, said he charged a fee of $5 per appliance.


“But if you bring it in on the days I am loading my truck to take them out, I’ll waive the $5,” Savage said.


“If we were participating in countywide recycling, these appliances could be brought in at no charge as long as they were residents of Marion County,” he said.


K.C. Development will take tires for a charge of $1 each, $2.50 for light-truck tires, $5 for heavy truck tires, 20 inches and larger, and $10 for rear tractor tires.


Savage said he didn’t think the price kept people from bringing in tires, but he felt like some people were just opposed to paying anything at all.


Savage said his business takes in an average of 4,000 tires per year.

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