Hundreds of tires were recently dumped illegally on this property behind W. Oakridge Ave. (Staff photo: Laura Williams)
ALBANY — In a scene which occurs too frequently for her liking, Keep Albany-Dougherty Beautiful Executive Director Judy Bowles was in the middle of an illegal trash dump site Monday.
Surrounded by more than 200 tires at a site behind West Oakridge Avenue, Bowles said that the mess was discovered by Dougherty County Code Enforcement employees during a routine check of the area.
“Unfortunately, it’s very difficult to trace tires, so we don’t know who dumped them here,” Bowles said. “This property belongs to Norfolk Southern Railway, so it falls to them to pay for the tires’ removal.”
This is not the first time illegal dumping has been found in this area. In August 2013, dozens of tires, furniture pieces, building materials and garbage bags were abandoned by Amanda Webb, who was identified by mail left behind in the bags, Bowles said.
Norfolk Railway issued a cleanup crew to the site on Monday to collect the estimated three tons of tires and transport them for proper disposal.
“They will be taken to Americus, and then they can be ground up for compost, pavement, and other uses,” said Daniel Whigham of the Dougherty County Public Works Department.
“Tires are an especially expensive item to have removed, probably around $3 to $4 per tire,” Bowles said.
Since the dump site’s discovery last week, Norfolk Railway has placed a cable fence at the entrance to the property in hopes of dissuading would-be trash dumpers.
“Not only are places like this unsightly, and bad for economic development, but they are also a health hazard. Snakes, rats and mosquitoes breed in places like this,” Bowles said.
Currently, anyone with a Dougherty County license tag can take up to 250 pounds of debris a day to the Dougherty County landfill at no charge. The city of Albany also has three drop-off recycling centers located in east, west and downtown Albany.
“If you’re loading everything up, you might as well go ahead and take it where it needs to go,” Bowles said.
If caught, illegal trash dumpers face hefty fines, community service and jail time.
“Really, in the end, it’s more financially beneficial for them to go ahead and follow proper procedures right from the start,” said Bowles. “It’s just not worth it for anyone — those who leave the mess or those who have to clean it up.”