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Sheriff’s office getting dirty to catch dumpers

NATCHEZ Representatives from the Adams County Sheriff’s Office are getting down and dirty — literally — to enforce illegal dumping laws in the area.

ACSO Maj. Charles Harrigill, who took over the county’s litter control program earlier this year, has been investigating dumpsites and identifying potential offenders by information found in the garbage itself.

“Dumped trash is public domain,” Harrigill said. “We can and will pick through it until we find enough evidence to (identify) the offender.”

Inmate crews picked up 6,200 40-gallon bags of trash on county-owned roads and 3,800 bags on state-owned roads that ran through Adams County in 2013. Those figures prompted the sheriff’s office to begin cracking down on illegal dumping throughout the county.

Sheriff Chuck Mayfield said the large amounts of garbage dumped in the county are also a health and sanitation issue that has pestered Adams County for too long.

“I am determined to curtail this disgusting and disrespectful activity,” Mayfield said. “We will continue to ferret out offenders, levy fines and, if it comes down to it, send offenders to jail.

“This is a dangerous health and environmental problem, and we take it seriously.”

Enforcing the illegal dumping laws, however, can be difficult at times depending on a property’s location, Harrigill said.

If an illegal dumpsite is on private property, notice has to be given to property owners first to allow the owners to clean the property.

If the owner does not clean the property, the case can be sent through the court system, with property owners facing charges and fees for cleanup.

Tickets can cost up to $1,500, Harrigill said.

Illegal dumpsites on private property are a more serious offense than random dumping, and Harrigill said registered letters have been sent to several county residents in violation of the dumping law. Property owners have 60 days to comply.

“Fines for allowing or creating illegal dumpsites on your property can cost property owners up to $10,000,” Harrigill said. “The fines will be added to your tax bill, and the property may be seized.”

Private property owners are also liable, Harrigill said, for garbage that is dumped on their property and are responsible for the clean up and any fines resulting from lack of clean up.

The county has set up two trash drop-off stations for residents to drop off their trash instead of dumping it.

The stations are located at 228 Foster Mound Road and 511-A Kingston Road.

The Foster Mound location accepts household garbage, including furniture and appliances, tires and limbs. The station is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday.

The Kingston Road location accepts household garbage and tires. The station is open from noon to 7 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday and 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday.