Judge/Executive Stan Humphries praised Thomas’ efforts to manage recent cleanup efforts and called the work “ongoing.”
Thomas said that county crews clean an average of four major dumpsites per year, but police minor sites year-round. “The major dumps may require some heavy equipment and work from the road department. All of it is illegal because there is no legal dumping in Trigg County.”
With illegal, Thomas said that crews search dumpsites for evidence to the offender’s identity for the Solid Waste Department to use in a criminal complaint. “If we find an envelope with an address or name in the trash, we will write a citation and turn it over to the sheriff to be served. We feel like that if a bag fell out of a vehicle, we’ll clean it up and not say anything. That’s an accident. Now if there is intentional dumping we frown on that.”
Thomas said that he believed fines could reach $500 for illegal dumping. He said that he was new to the position and had filed no complaints, but his predecessors Lucy Oliver and Matt Oliver had made criminal complaints against offenders for criminal littering.
Sheriff Randy Clark said that he had not received any recent complaints, but served citations for criminal littering in the past. “The State of Kentucky realized there was a problem and formed the solid waste coordinator’s position in every county to take care of the problem.”
He added, “There needs to be more awareness that dumping will not be tolerated. There is no reason fir it. It’s nasty, ugly and destroys the beauty of the county. Dumping is criminal. If the solid waste coordinator needs assistance, we will work to identify the individual responsible and prosecute them.”
Clark said that Criminal Littering summonses are prosecuted by the County Attorney’s Office. County Attorney H.B. Quinn was in court and could not give a comment to The Cadiz Record before its deadline on the number of cases he has prosecuted, or the type of penalty sought by his office.
“This is my first year as coordinator. I am not sure how many cases we’ve prosecuted in the past,” said Thomas. “I know of one at Airport Estates on private land. We got some names and were able to make a complaint. This happened in October, and I am not sure what was done. I was out there cleaning it myself, picking up paper, cups, bottles and pizza boxes.”
Thomas said that a recent cleanup saw the county removing 35 bags of trash from a wooded area. The effort concluded February 4. “We have three more we plan to do, but they require the road department and some equipment.”
To clean up a dump, Thomas said that the county pays $30 per ton of garbage plus a $100 dumpster rental fee. Though he called the recent job relatively easy, he added that crews collect old furniture, appliance, heating units, construction debris and metal.
Get the full story on county efforts to halt illegal dumping in The Cadiz Record.