Haynes hopes to discourage illegal dumping

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 10, 2003

CENTREVILLE &045; Why do some people choose to illegally dump their household trash, worn-out furniture and discarded appliances on our roadsides when the county’s Solid Waste Department will pick those items up and dispose of them properly?

People in Wilkinson County and all over the Magnolia State have asked that question for years, and the answer always boils down to a lack of education and enforcement.

&uot;People have been dumping here for over 30 years,&uot; Wilkinson County First District Supervisor Mack Haynes said Wednesday, as his employees began cleaning up a notoriously trashy site on Old Mississippi Highway 33 south of Centreville.

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Haynes said since he took office in 1994 his crews have cleaned up the illegal dumping site at least once each year &045; only to see the place trashed again.

&uot;We clean it up and put up signs that say ‘No Dumping.’

People come right behind us and tear the signs down and keep on dumping,&uot; said Haynes, who is considering installing a chain link fence to discourage illegal dumping at the Old Mississippi Highway 33 site.

A small stream flows through a culvert under the road where people have thrown their garbage in the creek bed.

The refuse has washed downstream, clinging to trees and bushes on private property.

Piles of debris, including refrigerators and other white goods, cover the shoulder of the road.

&uot;If people will just call the Solid Waste Department, we’ll come and get the white goods,&uot; said Haynes.

Workers sorted through the heaps, burning some of the items and hauling the rest to a landfill at Sibley.

By mid-afternoon, the roadside was clean, but plastic bags and old tires remained in the stream &045; which eventually flows into Thompson Creek and on to the Mississippi River. Haynes said illegal dumping is not peculiar to one district or county, and it’s hard to stop.

&uot;You pretty much have to catch somebody in the act,&uot; he said.

With recent pressure from the Department of Environmental Quality to clean up all the illegal dumpsites in Wilkinson County, Haynes and his fellow supervisors are considering ways to catch violators, including the possibility of hiring a &uot;garbage detective&uot; to monitor dumpsites and investigate illegal dumping.

&uot;You’ve got enough laws on the books.

It’s a matter of how you are going to enforce it,&uot; Board Attorney Ron Senko told supervisors at a recent meeting.

According to state law, those convicted of illegally dumping trash on roadsides shall be fined from $50 up to $250.

First offenders may also be required to remove the trash and

restore any damaged property, in addition to performing community service related to garbage cleanup.

The property restoration and community service requirements become mandatory for second or subsequent offenders. Violators may also be required to pay costs incurred by investigators and prosecutors.