Illegal dump gets spring cleaning

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 8, 2003

Where there were once mattresses

and piles of reeking garbage, now there are none.

Certainly, there are still traces of trash at the illegal dump in the Briar Hill area, but all of the bloody needles have been picked up and most of the solid waste has been hauled away as part of what County Solid Waste Enforcement Officer Sam Green calls "an ongoing process."

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"I've never said that I'm going to get all of it," he said. "It's ongoing and even if they were all cleaned up at once, there could still be somebody who dumps in the middle of the next night."

According to Debra Davis, who lives near the dump, county crews were out at 7 a.m. Thursday morning, cleaning up the mess.

"I was disappointed with the lack of response from county and state officials when my husband reported that a box of needles and syringes were floating in the creek on CR 1117 on the afternoon of April 30," she wrote in a letter recently sent to members of the Pike County Commission.

Still, she acknowledges the county's response and is now focusing on three suggestions that she said would better improve the county's ability to deal with the problem of illegal dumping.

"I would like for the commission to consider three things: establishing a system to identify and clean up illegal dumps by district and possibly post them in the courthouse so residents can see the county is making an effort to clean them up, make every effort to prosecute people who dump illegally, including going through the garbage and searching for names and addresses and establish an emergency contact system with a series of contact numbers to report illegal dumps and hazardous situations like the one involving the syringes," she wrote.

Green said county residents who discover illegal dumps already have a system of reporting: calling him at the courthouse.

"If people see the dumping, they should write down the license plate and call the sheriff," he said.

As for the syringes that have been collected

from the creek, they were turned over to the Pike County Drug Task Force for testing. Davis had expressed concern about the needles and any contaminants that may result from their careless disposal.

"People fish in that creek," she said.

Members of the task force were unavailable for comment at press time.

As he nailed the "No Dumping" sign over the remains of the trash-strewn gully, he admitted the difficulty of enforcing the laws.

"They'll probably just shoot up that sign," he said, referring to the rowdy hunters who patrol the area, looking for targets.

Still, Green said the number of dumps in the county has declined over the past several years and in the most recent case, he and the county responded to complaints relatively quickly. And that, he said, is all part of the cleaning up dumps.

"It's not a goal we just reach. People tell us about them and then we go and get them."