By Ronica Shannon
Senior News Writer
Madison County is one of 26 counties in the state to receive grant funding to clean up illegal dump sites, which are becoming more of a common occurrence, according to Scott Tussey, the county’s solid waste director.
Gov. Steve Beshear announced Jan. 3 that $2.1 million in funding will be awarded by the state Energy and Environment Cabinet to help clean up 172 illegal dumps statewide.
“Illegal dumping is a major problem that raises significant concerns with regard to safety, property values and quality of life in our communities,” Beshear said. “Cleaning up dump sites also is an economic burden on our local governments. These grants offer local communities funding relief to their tight budgets.”
Not all illegal dumps are eligible for funding, and that is what cuts into the county’s funding, Tussey said.
“Anything that’s over 2 cubic yards of waste is eligible for a grant to get cleaned up,” he said. “Not all of the dumps we come across would qualify for that, but we just go ahead and get rid of them.”
Out of the $2.1 million in grant funding released, Madison County will receive $56,000. This is enough money to clean four sites, Tussey said.
“Two of those have already been cleaned up and two others will be cleaned soon,” he said. “They seem to show up more often mainly on county roads which are cleaned up quickly.”
Those being cleaned up with the grant funding have “been there for a while,” Tussey said. “Over my four years (as Madison County’s solid waste director), the amount of trash at the dumps has stayed about the same.”
Most of the county’s illegal dumps consist of basic household garbage, he said.
“We send out notices of violation which are state (Kentucky Revised Statute) violations if we find any identification of who the trash belongs to,” he said. “For the most part, we don’t find any identification.”
Cleaning up illegal dump sites is about more than just making the county appealing to the eyes.
“Health, pest, water and environmental problems can be caused by dumps,” Tussey said.
If anyone finds an illegal dump in the county, it should be reported to the Solid Waste Department at 624-4709.
Ronica Shannon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 624-6608.