(Photos by Tim Jaynes, Staff)
Scott County has been selected to receive $10,000 in grant funding from the Bootheel Solid Waste Management District for the countywide illegal dump cleanup, according to Scott County Commissioner Dennis Ziegenhorn, executive board member of the solid waste district, and Willard Adams, district planner for the Bootheel Regional Planning and Economic Development Commission at Dexter and secretary for the solid waste district.
The grant funding is provided through the state Department of Natural Resources' solid waste management program.
The grant money will be used strictly for dumping fees, according to Ziegenhorn.
The county will add $5,000 in labor and equipment costs as an in-kind contribution for the grant. "The highway department will actually do the cleanup," Ziegenhorn said.
Illegal dumping not only creates eyesores and health hazards but safety hazards, too, as some illegal dumpers don't even bother to push their junk and trash into the ditch.
"We've found trash on bridges," Ziegenhorn said. "That is dangerous -- someone could come along at night and run into a refrigerator on a bridge and that could kill somebody."
The illegal dumping problem isn't new and is one commissioners have made efforts to address in the past.
"Last year we got a $5,000 grant and we made a pretty good cleanup in some areas throughout the county. Some of those areas have stayed fairly clean," Presiding Commissioner Jamie Burger said. "This year with $10,000 I'm hoping we get even more areas cleaned up. We need to be more proud of the way it looks throughout the county."
Not all off the illegal dump sites have remained clean, however.
"One of the major problems I see is when we clean an area up, we come back in another month and there is more stuff there again as if it is a dumping area," Ziegenhorn said.
Ziegenhorn said officials have discussed in the past setting up transfer stations or dumpsters for the legal disposal of items but don't think these efforts would really make much of a difference.
"I think the people that are dumping on the county roads, they don't care enough that they would take it to a legal dump site," Ziegenhorn said.
He said the county will arrest and prosecute those who illegally dump when they are caught.
In the meantime, the illegal dump sites need to be cleaned up and the grant money will enable the county to do so.
"We're going to use it and get the most out of it we can," Ziegenhorn said. "It's too bad you have to get money to do this, though."