City leaders make bold move to end illegal dumping -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

City leaders make bold move to end illegal dumping

(WALB image) (WALB image)
Judy Bowles (WALB image) Judy Bowles (WALB image)
Phil Roberson (WALB image) Phil Roberson (WALB image)
Silica Road (WALB image) Silica Road (WALB image)

Albany commissioners consider a bold move to end a major illegal dumping problem. Silica Road in East Albany is a nearly one mile stretch of dirt road that is widely considered the top spot where people dump pretty much anything, anytime, costing tax payers thousands of dollars, and creating a health hazard for residents.
And, what we found today was sickening. "I can't tell you how many times in 20 years I've been called over to this street," said Keep Albany Dougherty Beautiful Director Judy Bowles.   

Just a few steps from this residential community the smell along this curve of Silica Road was overpowering. It was from a dog carcass.  "This is a smell we have in this area because of the illegal dumping," said Bowles.

Up and down the road, we found tires,  bedding;  garbage of all kinds.  "Because it's secluded and there are really no houses that abut it there have been a lot of illegal dumping activity here and it costs the city Public Works Department a lot of money every year to come out here and clean this thing up and haul the garbage away to the landfill," said Assistant City Manager Phil Roberson.

During our interview, a truck filled with debris turned around and sped off when he saw WALB and the city crews.

"Everything he's got on the back of that truck he can take to the landfill. 250 pounds a day is free," Bowles said.

Free, which is why city leaders and community activists find it so frustrating that people keep dumping on Silica Road.

Past attempts to stop it have failed. "We've actually buried telephone poles into the ground, six or seven feet into the ground. I don't know if they use 4-wheel drive trucks or whatever they pulled them out of the ground. They have taken a chainsaw and cut them," Roberson said.

Putting a gate at the two entrance points to Silica Road,  Mobile, and Cason, with access only for residents, first responders and utility crews,  is the city's answer now to end the gross illegal dumping.

"I mean it's bad for everyone that lives here and how we look as a community is a reflection on every person that lives here," said Bowles.

This is a high priority Fight the Blight project for the city, and city staff expect to have a comprehensive closing plan to commissioners within 30 days.

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