The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Local News

June 12, 2014

Debris-testing company on county’s agenda Monday

— Leggtown residents are asking why the unauthorized debris from the county-owned L&S property has not been removed as of June 12 since first being reported to the Alabama Department of Environmental Management on April 29.

ADEM policy allows 30 days for a removal plan after a notice of violation is received, which means the Limestone County Commission has until June 28.

County Engineer Richard Sanders said the commission in considering a professional services contract with Great Southern Engineering in Trinity, ensuring the removal follows ADEM guidelines. The contract is on Monday’s commission agenda.

When asked why the debris removal plan is pending, Sanders said “until we know what is in the (debris), whether it is asbestos or paint,” the county could not submit an acceptable plan. He said the environmental contractor must be approved before testing the Leggtown debris.

Sanders, who did not participate in the L&S removal project spearheaded by District 3 Commissioner Bill Latimer, is supervising the county’s response to three ADEM violations.

The violations are for using the unauthorized dump site in Leggtown, failing to have an environmental inspection at L&S prior to demolition and neglecting to notify the state about the demolition.

State inquiry

ADEM spokesman Scott Hughes said the agency would examine the county’s plan to ensure proper removal. He said the plan must include where the county will take the debris and details on how the debris will be disposed.

After demolishing the remaining buildings at L&S, county workers transported an estimated 60 loads of debris from the razed L&S shopping center in Athens to farmland at 26679 Leggtown Road.

The property is rented by Johnny Abernathy and owned by Terry Clemmons, according to ADEM documents. Latimer previously told The News Courier that the concrete blocks were being taken to the farmland because Abernathy had requested them to “fill out” his fields. It is unclear why other debris also was taken to the private property.

Residents living near the Leggtown farmland said several of the debris piles have been smoldering for at least six weeks. A Leggtown road resident — who asked not to be identified because of fear of retribution — said the debris includes “tons of bricks and wood ... plastics, carpet, chemical cans, foam, PVC pipe, rubber, fiberglass, electronic circuit boards and massive amounts of asphalt roofing material.”

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