|Environmental officer tackles clean-up of large, illegal trash site|
|Faith Huffman | News-Telegram News Editor|
April 5, 2006 - The county's new environmental enforcement investigator got off to a big start Tuesday morning, tackling the investigation into and overseeing clean-up of what is believed to be the biggest single unauthorized dumping site in Hopkins County.
"It was horrible," EE Investigator Holly Rosamond said just before noon Tuesday of the dump site. "People have dumped everything out there from dirty diapers to washers, dryers, stoves and household trash."
Rosamond said the area once considered by local officials to be the largest trash problem in the county will be trash-free at the end of Wednesday.
She also said the investigation into the dumping at that County Road 2174 location is ongoing,
Rosamond took county jail inmates to the site Tuesday to help sort through the garbage, separating the burnable materials such as paper and wood from other, larger items, looking for any evidence which would point to those responsible for the unsightly mess.
"We're checking for any information that might point to suspects," Rosamond said. "We will be prosecuting violators, going after them aggressively. We'll be using surveillance cameras and other tools at our disposal to catch them, and when we do, we will be filing charges and prosecuting."
While sorting the materials, Rosamond and the inmates cleaned up the area. The items which could not be burned were placed on trailers and taken to the Precinct 2 disposal site.
Around 8 a.m. Wednesday, Rosamond returned to the site, accompanied by Hopkins County firefighters and employees of Precinct 2, loaned out by Commissioner Burke Bullock for the project. The firefighters and county workers helped Rosamond push the trash into a low area and stayed to oversee its disposal through burning, the environmental officer said.
Rosamond said that in addition to investigating trash dumping, her duties will also include removal of dead cows and other decaying animals from waterways and roadsides, as well as pursuing charges against those responsible for dumping.
The environmental enforcement program was formerly operated through the sheriff's office, but ended when grants to fund the program were no longer available. It was recently reinstated by the commissioner's court, with Jerry Pierce appointed to oversee the program in addition to his other duties. Rosamond was hired to act as investigator. The program is now operated exclusively by the county government and is not associated with the sheriff's office.