The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Local News

December 14, 2012

Natural brush dumping discouraged

— County residents are being reminded to haul excess natural brush to the county’s transfer station, instead of dumping branches, leaves and trimmings into ditches.

Athens residents have curbside pickup for garbage, recycling bins and natural brush, but Limestone County residents only have garbage pickup.

The city and county’s garbage is taken to a transfer station and then hauled via semi-trucks to a landfill in Lawrence County.

It costs less than $10 per load to drop off excess refuse to the transfer station, which is located on U.S. 72 West near the Seven Mile Post Road intersection.

Natural brush isn’t classified as litter, according to state law, but it can be categorized as illegal dumping if the refuse is dumped into sewers or waterways, such as ditches. If a ditch becomes clogged, it can lead to flooding for surrounding property owners.

Illegal dumping, which is an environmental crime, also includes leaving waste on public or private property that is not licensed or permitted to receive waste, or allowing another person to do dump waste on one’s land without a license.

The Limestone County Sheriff’s Office has an officer assigned to handle litter complaints, and the county has an environmental specialist who handles complaints about junk cars and hazardous materials.

The issue was raised by District 2 Commissioner Steve “Ned” Turner during the Limestone County Commission work session Wednesday morning. He said the refuse gives a negative impression to potential residents, and it can lead to flooding problems.

“I’m finding a lot of brush and trimming limbs piling up in ditches … it looks terrible,” Turner said. “I’m reluctant to send my guys out there to pick it up because this is not something we’re going to provide (on a regular basis).”

The commission will hold its final regular meeting this year at 10 a.m. Monday, Dec. 17, at the Clinton Street annex.

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