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Illegal dumping costs county estimated $40K
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Warren County Sanitation Department director Steve Hillis estimates the county is losing over $40,000 a year due to out-of-county residents using Warren County’s convenience centers to dump their trash. Hillis reported his estimate to members of the county’s Health and Welfare Committee.
Hillis had his workers tally how many out-of-county vehicles were using Warren County sites during the past month. Hillis visited the Campaign site himself last week and said of the first 10 vehicles which visited the convenience center last Thursday, three were from Van Buren County and one was from White County.
According to his figures, approximately 9 tons of trash collected each week are from out-of-county residents.
Multiply 9 tons by 52 weeks and that makes 468 tons per year of garbage Warren County collects from out-of-county residents.
The county now pays a $43.43 per ton tipping fee, which amounts to $20,325.24 when multiplied by 468 tons of garbage. According to Hillis, this number should be doubled to pay for collection and county vehicle costs.
That makes $40,650.48 which Hillis estimates the county is losing each year if it continues to allow vehicles with out-of-county tags to dump at local convenience centers.
Several vehicles with out-of-county tags were also recently spotted at the collection site at the fairgrounds. Community service workers were asked if they were told to not allow out-of-county vehicles to use the receptacles. One unidentified worker said, “No. We were just told to help people unload their trash.” Another worker just shook his head no.
“We get a bunch of people from Altamont at the Viola Road center. Everyone on this side of the rock quarry brings us their trash,” said Hillis.
“The site at Rock Island isn’t three or four miles away from the Van Buren County site at Bone Cave. They will still bring their trash to us,” said Commissioner Teddy Boyd.
Hillis replied, “Van Buren charges customers 11 or 12 cents per pound of trash. That site at Bone Cave is only open one day a week. You know why? Because, we’re getting all their business for free. They don’t need to be open if everyone brings their garbage to us.”
Hillis asked commissioners to please consider asking constables for help in deterring people driving out-of-town vehicles from using the trash collection sites.
The committee discussed the money being lost versus the amount of money they will spend by possibly paying constables to oversee the 13 collection sites. Warren County has 12 constables, one per district.
Members voted to meet with constable representatives to determine what the constables would need from the county in order to regularly work the collection sites deterring out-of-county vehicles from dumping in Warren County.
“I hope we get some help from the constables. That will help a lot,” said Hillis.
Members of the Health and Welfare Committee are Sally Brock, Boyd, Billy Earl Jones, Diane Starkey and Blaine Wilcher.