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Dumpsites found across Crenshaw County

Crenshaw County is host to many illegal dumpsites, most being out of sight from public eye. Dumpsites are home to clothes, appliances, and residential trash. Journal Photo/Alex Collier

By: Alex Collier

Crenshaw County’s illegal dumpsites are costing taxpayers thousands of dollars, with sites recently being exposed on roads such as South Brunson Chapel Road, Helen Road and Lloyd Road. Those who dump may be prosecuted.

“Lloyd Road was the worst I’ve seen in my time here,” said Mona Sims, solid waste enforcement officer for Crenshaw County. “It was well over 20 truckloads, just filled with everything you could think of.”

South Brunson Chapel Road, which was cleaned up months ago, is now home to a new illegal dumpsite.

“I see trash on the side of the road all the time,” said Ronald Warren, driver for Waste Management Incorporated. “Places that become dumpsites are out of sight, out of mind — not a lot of people live there.”

At the dumpsites, like Helen Road, you will see toys and pillows that have been there for years. Many of the dumpsites that Sims have found collect for months, and even years until someone finds it and reports it.

“If a person’s mom or grandmother dies and the kids have to clean the house, they will just dump the trash,” Sims said. She found a bag of clothes in one of the sites.

Sims searches for illegal dumpsites, hoping to clean the city and find those who contributed.

“People call and report them to us,” she said. “The dumpsites are starting to cost the county a lot of money.”

Sims says that officials are going to sift through the trash and start to prosecute.

“I will bring them in front of a judge when we catch who they are, and I will prosecute. There are no excuses for illegal dumping when there’s a landfill,” she said.

“Fortunately, we have done a great job of keeping illegal dumpsites under control in Crenshaw County,” Crenshaw County Commission Chairman Charlie Sankey Jr. said. “We haven’t had many convictions for dumpsites.”

There isn’t a conviction rate or a fine because there haven’t been any steps taken toward convictions of illegal dumping.

South Brunson Chapel Road, Helen Road and Lloyd Road will cost taxpayers about $4,000 to $5,000 to clean up.

“Our job is to get people to bring it to the landfill,” Sims said. “We don’t charge in weight for trash (at the landfill); we charge in cubic feet. So it’s fairly cheap.”

According to the Alabama Environmental Council, landfills generate revenue by imposing fees for accepting waste. The fees average about $25 per ton in Alabama. The national average is $45 per ton.

The Crenshaw County Landfill is at 371 Landfill Road. The cost for dumping at Crenshaw County Landfill is $6 per cubic feet. Charges for the prices goes up starting at $20 for a truckload going all the way up to $75.The landfill does not accept TVs, computer parts or household garbage. Tires are processed at a fee based on size.

“We want just people to utilize the landfill that we have in place for the county,” Sankey said.

Free Trash Day is from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. one the second Saturday of the month.

Alex Collier is a Troy University journalism student from Jacksonville, Fl. This article is part of a project partly funded by the Alabama Press Association Journalism Foundation.