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UPDATE: Trash Problem Plagues Lincoln County Communities

By: Jennifer Rizzi Email
By: Jennifer Rizzi Email

UPDATE: 3/16/2012 @ 10:30 p.m.
LINCOLN COUNTY, W.Va.(WSAZ) -- More than half of all households in Lincoln County don't pay for trash service and officials say lots of that extra waste ends up in unsightly places.

Brett Brumfield is sick of dealing with a smelly situation.

Never-ending heaps of trash are piled up on his Harts property. As soon as he starts to clean them, he says more just arrives in their place.

"As a landowner, it's pretty frustrating, " he said. "People who don't own the place just don't care."

Officials say illegal dumping is taking over parts of Lincoln County, forcing neighbors to deal with the dangerous mess.

Less than half of all households in the county subscribe to trash pickup service, according to members of the Solid Waste Authority Board.

They say lots of that leftover waste can end up in unsightly places - like Brumfield's property.

"It's not going to be fixed until we start teaching our children better," he said. "That's what it boils down to."

Tony Ritchie also lives in Harts and says he's seen so much trash that it's lost its shock value. Officials say lots of people can't afford pickup service, but Ritchie says it's not always feasible even for those who can.

"You have to put it at the mouth of your hollow and then animals get into it no matter what," he said. "People even come and steal your garbage bins...it's that bad."

Brumfield says he'd like to see more citations given, or a full-time free dump open in the county.

Solid Waste Authority Board members say they're looking at that as a possible solution.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for updates.



ORIGINAL STORY
LINCOLN COUNTY, W.Va.(WSAZ) -- A trip along Fourteen Mile Mountain in Harts reveals trash, trash and more trash.

"There are tires and burnt cars...anything that anyone wants to drop off," resident Tony Ritchie said. "If they have trash, they're dumping it."

And that's not the only place with an eyesore and a health hazard. Officials say garbage is taking over the county because less than half of all households pay for pickup service.

They say some people can't afford the service while living on a fixed income, and others live outside the service area. Still others just choose not to pay for it.

That leaves lots of the remaining trash to be burned or dumped illegally - often with no consequences.

"It's swept under the rug usually," said Howland Sharpe of the Lincoln County Solid Waste Authority Board. "But I will report it, and I will do it the proper way."

Sharpe has made it his mission to put a stop to the putrid problem. Along with serving on the board, he volunteers to collect trash for neighbors and haul it off to be recycled.

His wife Doris helps with the effort and says they keep fighting for change. But she says they may never see it without a county-wide attitude adjustment first.

"I think basically you have to change the mentality of the adults in this county," she said. "Because the kids will do what the adults do."

Doris says much of the problem stems from Lincoln County's large senior citizen population. She says it's a hard for a generation that grew up without recycling to change their ways.

"When I was going to school, that word was not in our vocabulary," she said.

Solid waste officials say they're pursuing the possibility of a full-time, free dump service in the county as a possible solution.

They say that type of service has helped clean up other counties.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for updates.


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