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Video cameras to watch over people dumping trash

You never know who might be watching you dump trash on other people’s property.

Sometimes it’s people who are watching, and soon it will be video cameras.

On July 21, an officer at the Screven County prison camp saw someone dumping broken concrete blocks on a piece of private property on McBride Circle. He got a license plate number and a description of the truck and trailer and called Bobby Smith, a county code enforcement officer.

Smith and deputies from the sheriff’s department investigated, and wound up arresting the driver of the truck -- Bohdon Redko, 50, of Shuman Drive, Eden, Ga., on July 23 on charges of illegal dumping and criminal trespass.

“The folks that think they can dump trash in the woods are getting caught,” said County Commissioner J.C. Warren, who oversees solid waste. “You can pay now or pay later but you’re going to have to pay.”

Public Works Director Vernon Edenfield said a state court judge will determine the amount of Redko’s fine. “It’ll probably be a pretty good bit more than if he had done it correctly the first time, not to mention the embarrassment and humiliation,” he said.

Redko was working as a contractor, hauling a broken front porch from a home in the area, Edenfield said. Contractors and other businesses are supposed to haul such trash to the county’s waste transfer station, by the prison on Rocky Ford Road, and pay a disposal fee of $35 a ton.

Redko knows where the transfer station is and how much it costs to dump trash there because he had been there a week earlier, taking roofing materials from the same job site. He said in a written statement to the sheriff’s department, “I am very sorry for my action. If I may ask I will go back and pick up the concrete and dispose of it in the proper dump site.”

A week later, he hadn’t gotten around to picking it up, Edenfield said. Investigators said they would follow up to make sure he does.

Screven County Sheriff Mike Kile said illegal dumping has been a problem for many years. “Why anybody thinks they can dump trash on somebody else’s land is beyond me,” he said.

County workers are constantly cleaning up after illegal dumpers. Last week, someone left a lot of yard waste on the ground at the new dumpster site in Cooperville, behind the fire station on Highway 301. Nothing is supposed to be left on the ground and only household trash, not yard waste, should be put in dumpsters, Edenfield said.

Yard waste must go to the transfer station, he said.

For individual homeowners in Screven County who are not operating a business, it’s free to leave such things as yard waste, old appliances, furniture, scrap metal and boards at the transfer station. The station is open 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 9 a.m. to noon Friday.

County residents can drive onto the station’s scales, stop and have their vehicles and trash weighed, go dump their trash, then stop on the scales again on the way out.

Everyone – individuals and businesses – has to pay $35 a ton to get rid of roofing shingles. Everyone also pays to dispose of tires. The fee is about $2.50 for a regular car tire with a rim, on up to $25 or $30 or more for large tires.

Anyone leaving tires at dumpster sites or leaving anything on the ground at dumpster sites will be fined, Edenfield said. The county is going to start rotating surveillance cameras to catch offenders at dumpsters and at illegal dump sites on private property.

Work should begin soon to lay new gravel and possibly pour some new pads at the dumpster site on Rocky Ford Road, Warren said. The county wants to make that its first manned trash and recycling center.

The county’s trash is transported from the transfer station to the Hickory Hill Landfill in Ridgeland, S.C.