The state is threatening big fines to stop illegal dumping.
It's a problem south Georgia code enforcement officers say usually gets worse in the spring. And this spring is no exception.
Lee County code enforcers are currently investigating several dumpsites.
And the Environmental Protection Division just filed a notice of violation to a Lee County businessman for an unpermitted dump. The state EPD's sent a civil notice of violation about one of the bigger unpermitted dumps discovered so far this spring in Lee County. The state threatens civil fines of $25,000 per day to stop these violations.
These are pictures of the unpermitted dump found on Doug Wingate's farm last month. A Department of Natural Resources ranger found the site after a complaint. Tires, pesticide cans, demolition debris, and a 5000 gallon fuel tank were found. The state EPD sent Wingate a notice of violation March 28th, saying their investigation concluded that the solid waste from his Georgia Farm Services business was routinely dumped there. The notice says the division considers these continued violations to be a serious matter and an enforcement action is now pending.
Lee County Code Enforcement says they consider all dump sites a health and safety risk.
Lee County Chief County Marshal Jim Wright said "They breed mosquitoes. Rodents. They leach chemicals into our drinking water."
Wright is staying busy this spring with many reports of other dump sites.
Wright said "Yes, we actually have illegal dumping sites throughout the county, we're addressing on almost a daily basis. It's not uncommon for us to come across them or report them. "
State and county officials want the dumping stopped, and warn people that illegally dumping materials can be a crime that could bring a one thousand dollar fine.
Wright said "We had an individual dump a couch that probably would have cost $6 to $8 to put into the landfill. And it ended up costing them a thousand dollars."
The Lee County dump charges three cents a pound for properly disposing of items. Code enforcement officers say it's a mystery why so many people illegally dump when it's so cheap to take care of it properly. EPD says this dump poses both soil and air contamination and fire hazards, and warn Georgians that these kind of dumps are no longer allowed.
Doug Wingate is not charged with any crime. Thursday afternoon Wingate said he wants people to know the dump contained no hazardous material, and assures it will be cleaned up. The EPD says he has until April 15th to submit a written compliance plan for its removal.
April 20th Lee County will hold the Annual Great American Clean up event. You can get more information about volunteering by calling the Lee County Chamber of Commerce at 759-2422.
The Southwest Georgia Regional Commission (RC) will conduct a meeting on Thursday, April 11th at 6:00pm at the T. Page Tharp Governmental Building, 102 Starksville Avenue North, to discuss concerns regarding the water quality of the Kinchafoonee Creek. The goal of this meeting is to appoint a Watershed Advisory Committee; this committee will have the opportunity to assist in the development and preparation of a Watershed Management Plan (WMP). A WMP is a tool that can be used to address and prevent sources of pollution within a watershed. The Plan allows residents within the watershed to select strategies that will be implemented to solve the problems. There is no cost to attend the meeting but registration is encouraged.
For more information and to register, please contact Jeff Hamilton (229)522-3552, by email at email@example.com or by mail at:
Southwest Georgia Regional Commission 181 East Broad Street Camilla, GA 31730
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