Bulloch County has a trashy problem, and it seems to be getting worse, according to one county official. People are dumping illegally at several unmanned dumpster sites, and it is costing county taxpayers.
While there are a number of manned recycling centers around the county, there are several unmanned dumpsters located in areas where there are no recycling centers. These sites are there for citizens’ convenience, but those abusing the service end up being a drain on county finances, said Fred White, Bulloch County’s environmental manager.
Dumpsters located at Lake Collins Road, Lawrence Church Road, Arcola and Hwy. 46, Arcola and Hwy. 80 East, Union Church Road, Rocky Ford Road at Old River Road North, Old Groveland Road at Nevils Groveland Road, and Hwy. 80 West at the Emanuel County line are often found with garbage scattered.
The containers are for household waste only, yet county workers find yard debris, old tires, construction waste and even dead animals at the sites. Sometimes people just don’t bother to toss the trash into a container, and sometimes people scavenging for valuable items leave refuse scattered outside the dumpsters, White said.
Residents of other counties also use the unmanned dump sites, which cost Bulloch County residents money to operate. The dumping has become such an issue, county environmental officers are issuing citations to spotted offenders, he said.
“These unmanned roadside dumps are turning into mini-landfills,” he said. “We place them there for household garbage, but we find items from commercial contractors, furniture, tires and more.”
When county workers have to pick up the tires, old worn sofas, tree limbs and useless construction debris, they have to take it to the landfill operated by the City of Statesboro and pay tippage fees, he said. This money comes from the budget, funded by tax payers, and is an unwanted and unbudgeted expense.
“Bulloch County doesn’t have a tax for sanitation,” he said. “This is costing all citizens a lot of money to pay employees to clean up the debris and then pay tippage.”
Tires can cost $70 a ton for disposal, and there has been evidence found that some area automotive businesses dump their unwanted tires at the unmanned sites instead of properly disposing of them, White said.
“These places charge customers a disposal fee, pocket that and dump the tires that we end up paying to dispose of,” he said.
If caught, an offender can pay anything between $100 and $1,350 for violations, he said. The way to avoid such citations is to use the sites for household waste only, and make sure you are a Bulloch County resident using a Bulloch County dumpster.
Recyclables can be taken to the manned centers, which may also take larger bulk waste, but items such as old tires, nonworking appliances and tree limbs should be disposed of at the landfill, he said.
It’s past time to start cracking down in violators who help create unsightly scenes at these dump sites, he said.
“Bulloch County is so beautiful, but when you come into these areas, you see where people are not putting things inside the Dumpsters or are scattering trash,” he said. “Bulloch County has one of the best recycling programs I’ve seen around, but people want to come in with larger loads (of unacceptable debris) and leave it.”
White said cameras will be placed at random at varying sites in efforts to record violators. He encouraged citizens to report violations, but asked that they do not confront anyone they see breaking the law.
“Please get tag numbers, or any identifying signs or lettering in a vehicle” that may be occupied by those dumping illegally.
And, don’t be surprised or angry if an environmental officer asks you for identification to ensure you are a Bulloch County resident, he said.
All too often county workers, including those operating the recycling centers, are cursed and yelled at by people who don’t like the county laws, he said.
“They are only doing their jobs,” he said. “Verbally abusing them is wrong – they are only following rules set up by the county.”
Another liability of trashy dump sites are feral and abandoned animals. Often people will dump cats and dogs at the dumpster locations, and these as well as wild animals lured by the smelly refuse can cause accidents or spread disease. Buzzards at the sites, possibly drawn by rotting food or dead animals, can fly into the path of a vehicle and shatter a windshield, or worse, he said.
Scavenging is another liability for the county, and is illegal as well. People actually enter the dumpsters seeking items they can use or resell, but the danger is in broken glass, needles and nails that may be found in the debris, White said.
Citizens can help by making sure all garbage dumped at the sites is household refuse; ensure garbage is tossed inside the containers; no scavenging, and if you aren’t a Bulloch County resident, don’t dump in Bulloch County dump sites, he said.
“Please work with us. I want to keep Bulloch County as it is – green and pretty.”
Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414.