Several Lee County agencies are trying to thwart the dumping of used tires along highways.
LEESBURG — Troubled by the growing number of tires being dumped along highways, particularly in the rural northern part of the county, law enforcement agencies in Lee County have stepped up patrols and asked for the community’s help in an effort to curtail the environmental hazards.
The Lee County Sheriff’s Office, Lee Marshal/Code Enforcement office and the Department of Natural Resources are all on the lookout for violators.
“We’re looking for the people who are doing the illegal dumping, but our office doesn’t actually do patrols looking for people who are violating our codes,” Chief Marshal/Code Enforcement Officer Jim Wright said. “The DNR doesn’t really patrol the roadways either, and the sheriff’s office has only limited patrol capability in any given region.
“What we’re asking is that citizens in the community — particularly in the rural northern part — be vigilant and keep an eye out for people dumping these tires. That’s pretty much the only way we’re going to be able to catch anyone. And these tires are not only eyesores, they’re environmental hazards.”
DNR Ranger First Class Randy James said he and others in the region would be on the lookout for violators while patroling waterways in Lee County.
“Complaints have been made in the county and forwarded to the sheriff’s office and to Code Enforcement,” James said. “Because we have such a good working relationship with Jim and the Code Enforcement office, we told them we’d keep an eye out while we were making patrols.
“The littering and environmental issues impact our natural resources, so this is something (DNR) would be concerned about. The county agencies would bring charges (against illegal dumpers) based on county codes, and we would bring state charges against anyone we caught.”
Lee Public Works Director Mike Sistrunk said his crews had recovered more than 80 tires in the last few days, most of them along Chokee, Dan Green, Grey Moss, Edwards and Batts roads.
“Public Works crews are picking up the tires and disposing of them, but they have other, more important, things to do,” Wright said. “This is an issue where we’re really asking the public to get involved. We don’t want anyone to confront someone they see dumping tires, but we ask that they contact this office, the sheriff’s office or the DNR and report any dumping they witness.
“If citizens are able to get a vehicle tag number, that will help tremendously.”
Any citizen who witnesses or has information about illegal dumping in the county may contact Code Enforcement at (229) 759-6000, LSO at (229) 759-3334 or the local DNR office at (229) 430-4252.