County deals with ongoing garbage issues

Published 7:00 am Thursday, February 26, 2015

CURBSIDE LITTER: Litter can be seen here spread out alongside Rock Ranch Rd. in Carriere. Photo by Ashley Collins.

CURBSIDE LITTER: Litter can be seen here spread out alongside Rock Ranch Rd. in Carriere. Photo by Ashley Collins.

The Pearl River County Board of Supervisors is taking action to implement regulations or revise those already in place concerning garbage collection services in the county.

District IV Supervisor J. Patrick Lee said the board will meet this week with their attorney, who’s currently looking into whether the county has regulations for proper garbage collection.

Last week, the Item reported that board members spoke about the need to regulate garbage trucks after Lee said he’s received complaints from residents concerning garbage trucks dropping trash on the streets.

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“If someone is going to pick up garbage, they have to have the right equipment and the truck has to have a tarp,” Lee said at the meeting.

He said if the attorney doesn’t find existing county regulations, the board will draft new ordinances to require garbage collection companies to have a permit, proof of insurance and meet other requirements.

“It’s one of those cases where we try to operate with less government and let people operate private businesses,” Lee said. “But this is getting out of control and now we’re at a point where we’re going to have to step in and go from there.”

Pearl River County resident and retired veteran Glen Bynum said something has to be done about the garbage issue in the county.

In his Carriere neighborhood, Bynum said there are several men, not associated with an actual garbage collection company, who have been picking up trash from residents for a $20 monthly fee over the past couple of years.

“Around here, our only two options to get rid of our trash are dumping it ourselves at the county dumpster or paying these men,” Bynum said.

However, he claims that instead of the garbage going to the county dumpster, it’s ending up in roadways and creek areas in Carriere.

“I went up to a couple of bags one day and found my garbage, which included paperwork, in one of the bags,” Bynum said.

Recently, he filed a complaint with the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality’s Administrator Mark Williams.

“We are currently investigating the issue and we should get a full report in the following week,” Williams said.

Pearl River County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Shane Tucker said the department wasn’t aware of the Carriere issue, but has dealt with a similar case in the past.

Last year, he said the department arrested John Craig Sawall, 44, of 68 Farmer Rd. in Perkinston, Miss., who owned a private garbage collection business in this county.

But instead of dumping the trash at the county dumpster, he was dumping it at a private residence in Poplarville, Tucker said.

“One of the neighbors of the property called in to complain about the large amount of household garbage piled up near the barn of the residence,” Tucker said. “Then a deputy contacted the property owner, who lived out-of-state and said she never gave anyone permission to dump garbage there.”

In April, Sawall was arrested for the unauthorized dumping of solid waste into a residence but is currently out on bond, Tucker said.

“The case is now at the district’s attorney’s office, and as of now he hasn’t been prosecuted,” Tucker said.

Lee said he also wasn’t aware of the alleged trash problem in Carriere, but said the board will look into all matters of garbage collection in the county in order to resolve the issue.