Published 11:08 pm Wednesday, May 24, 2006
By By JANET LITTLE COOPER – For The Standard
Escambia County jail inmates are doing more than just cleaning up their act; they are cleaning up the streets of Escambia County as well.
Non-violent offenders, accompanied by a part-time correctional officer, work at least one day a week loading a 10,000-pound capacity dump trailer with roadside garbage that is littering Escambia County roadways.
The dump trailer was purchased with work release money, according to the Escambia County Sheriff's Department.
This initiative to clean up the county is monitored and supervised by Nancy Barton, the sheriff's department environmental officer. She has compiled a list of areas in the county that are heavily affected by litter and illegal dumps.
A mandatory law requiring residents of Escambia County to have curbside garbage pickup was instated in 1994. Under this law, county residents are required to have their household garbage picked up weekly.
Residents of Atmore rely upon the City of Atmore for this service, while Brewton residents are under a contract with Allied Waste.
According to Barton, there is no excuse for the dumping of household garbage on area roadways due to the number of resources available to curb that problem.
The county is home to three dumps, two of which will accept household garbage. The City of Atmore Inert dump located on Poarch Road is the only county dump that will not accept household waste. The Highway 41 dump, operated by Allied Waste, and County Road 55, or Jay Road, dump will take household garbage but have restrictions on other items such as appliances.
The resources needed for proper dumping are available in the county, but are not always used by residents.
Inmates recently recovered 4,000 pounds of garbage that was illegally dumped on Curtis Road in Atmore according to Barton.
Barton said that James Road is also home to a well established unauthorized dump that people use on a regular basis. The area was recently burned, destroying everything flammable and in a matter of three weeks has already begun to back up with household garbage.
Not only are the inmates cleaning up these illegal dumps, but they are also taking names. The work crews rummage through the garbage in an effort to identify the responsible person.
According to Barton, it would be much cheaper to pay the quarterly garbage fee than the fines associated with illegal dumping. A first conviction leads to a minimum fine of $250 while each conviction thereafter faces a minimum of $500 per each conviction.
Barton said she would like for people to be more aware of the littering problems that plague Escambia County.
The sheriff's office is concentrating on dumps in these areas: