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Costly Cleanup

Illegal dumping makes county look bad, costs taxpayer money

POSTED March 16, 2017 8:27 p.m.
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Sadly, it’s an all too common sight – the illegal dumping of trash along county and township roads, said Barton County Road and Bridge Director Dale Phillips.
“It’s a reoccurring problem,” he said. In addition to being a blight on the county, cleaning these dump sites costs time and taxpayer money.
Phillips offered two recent examples brought to light by taxpayer complaints. The first was at NW 60 Ave. and NW 20 Road, and the other at NW 20 Ave. (Patton Road) just north of NW 10 Road.
On March 2, four employees of the Road and Bridge Department cleaned trash and debris from the two bridge sites. In all, 4.39 tons of trash were picked up, including furniture, TVs, deer carcasses and 59 tires.
There was also a 55-gallon drum filled with duck, pheasant and wildlife carcasses.
The work involved 37 hours of labor and cost the county $3,657.85. Now, the landfill has to pay someone $140 per ton to come and haul the tires away.
Phillips said it took two days for his employees to clean the sites. “We could have been doing something else.”
What’s more, he said, is that two days later, someone had dumped a bunch of old furniture at one of the locations. “It’s unfortunate.” The sites most commonly used are secluded, he said. There are “No Dumping” signs around the county, but they are often ignored.
Normally, the responsibility to clean trash on gravel township roads falls to the township. But, since the dumping at these sites involved county bridges, the county handled the work.
The county also takes care of trash dumping on the paved roadways.
“We’re not in charge of monitoring it,” Phillips said. But, “we get stuck cleaning it up.”
On a related note, “No Trash Dumping” signs were put up on NW 20 Road, 1.5 miles west of Hoisington, on a low-water crossing slab. This area was recently cleaned by township crews.


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