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Grants let officials continue fight against illegal dumps

Lincoln County efforts to correct illegal dumps and to collectwaste tires will continue for another year with two grants from theMississippi Department of Environmental Quality.

DEQ officials recently announced a $30,486 grant to the countyfor solid waste enforcement, and a $35,000 grant to continue thecounty’s waste tire collection program. While not new, the fundsare vital to the county’s solid waste program, said David Fields,county administrator.

“It’s something we apply for every April and get to fund thatdepartment,” Fields said.

Solid Waste Coordinator Ronnie Durr has been on the job for fiveyears.

Durr said the county’s illegal dumps now are not as spread outas they once were. However, he said each supervisor districtcontinues to have “hot spots” of illegal dumping activity.

“It’s just going to happen,” said Durr, declining to identifyspecific areas for fear of encouraging more illegal dumping. “Noone is immune to it.”

Forest Trail in north central Lincoln County was one place Durrwas working earlier this week. Next to a “No Dumping” sign that hadbeen pulled out of the ground, Durr found an old mattress, severalpieces of furniture and other items.

“This is a keen dumping spot for this area,” Durr said.

Durr cleared the area with equipment that DEQ helped the countypurchase about four years ago. The machine has a claw that picks upgarbage and puts it in a large container for disposal at alandfill.

“We were one of the first ones in the state DEQ went in thisdirection with,” Durr said. “It fits the bill.”

Using DEQ waste tire grant funds, the county has set up a wastetire collection site at the District 2 barn on old Highway 51. Durrstressed that the site is for small generators, such as households,and that businesses are not permitted to leave tires at thesite.

Durr said the county carries the collected waste tires to one oftwo sites, depending on whether a tire can be recycled. He saidtire collection efforts are going well, but they have slowed somerecently.

“We don’t get as many as we once did,” said Durr, adding thatmore tires are being found on the sides of roads.

Durr and Keep Lincoln County Beautiful Thursday conducted itsannual litter survey of county roads.

In the survey, approximately 75 sites are selected for study.The sites are visually inspected, and the amount of litter iscompared to how the site appeared last year.

“Each district has a road that is difficult,” Durr said.

KLCB survey coordinator Homer Richardson said results would bepresented to supervisors once they are compiled. Durr said thecounty works to keep litter off the roads, but the public’s help isstill needed.

“We do whatever we can to keep litter picked up,” Durr said.”But ideally, people shouldn’t throw it out.”

Among prosecution efforts, Durr said there is a minimum $50 finefor illegal dumping. He was not aware of any dumping prosecutions,but he knew of several littering citations written by sheriff’sdepartment.

In addition to household items, Durr said he has started tonotice other items along some roadsides.

“My concern as we go into this time of the year is the illegaldumping of deer remains,” Durr said. “We’ve already seen someevidence of that on the sides of roads and in the creeks.”

Durr said responsible deer hunters don’t leave remains alongroadside. He commended area hunting clubs for doing good job ofpolicing their members.