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Closing lid on illegal dumping
Illegal dumping Issue.jpg
Sanitation Department employee Charles Barnes stands beside the sign displayed at the Fairgrounds Convenience Center prohibiting commercial dumping and out-of-county garbage. - photo by Lacy Garrison

When it comes to waste disposal in Warren County, commercial and out-of-town dumping have been an ongoing issue for the county’s Sanitation Department. 

In a document provided by Sanitation Department director Josh Roberts, a resolution effective back in January 2004 prohibited both out-of-town and commercial dumping at county convenience centers. However, people have been getting away with it for years. 

“I feel it’s a burden on our Warren County taxpayers,” said Roberts to Health and Welfare Committee members. “The convenience centers are not for commercial disposal, or for construction debris, in ordinance with state requirements.”

According to Roberts, many businesses, restaurants and construction workers are hauling their waste to convenience centers instead of taking it to Southern Central, which charges 3.1 cents per pound. Some are bagging it in black bags, while others try to bring their waste via enclosed trailers with ladder racks on the side. 

Exactly how much is this costing the county? Roberts says around $60,000, if not more.

“Last year, come budget time, I had to move $60,000 out of my salaries to put in my tipping fees to cover it,” explained Roberts. “We can’t keep doing it. We’re up to around $430,000 a year in tipping fees disposing our trash.” 

“How do you enforce this?” asked Commissioner David Dunlap.

Answered Roberts, “At one point, Steve used constables. I need something to go out to a restaurant owner. I know his stuff is commercial. He’s hauling to me three times a week. I need to walk out to him and say ‘Hey, my committee is behind me, you need to stop.’”

A motion was approved by the committee to recruit constables, McMinnville Police Department and the Sheriff’s Department to help enforce the prohibition of garbage disposal from private/ commercial haulers and waste generated by industrial businesses at county convenience centers.