By Michael Howell
The County Commissioners decided last week to install a gate and place a “No Dumping” sign to restrict access to a small piece of county property off of Snyder Lane southeast of Stevensville that has been used as a dump for a number of years. The Commissioners heard complaints about the illegal dumping activity but were slow to act until a sanitarian at the Environmental Health Department discovered that the county owned the land.
An investigator from the state Department of Environmental Quality, Larry Alheim, was in the county last Thursday to examine the dump site and make some assessment of how clean up might proceed. Although there was evidence of environmentally deleterious materials such as asphalt roofing shingles and other construction materials having been deposited at the site, no evidence indicating the presence of any actual hazardous waste materials was discovered, according to Alheim.
Alheim said that he did inform county officials about the agency’s Environmental Rehabilitation and Response Account. The Director of DEQ may dispense funds from the account to help local governments clean up solid waste. Alheim said it would mean devising a plan for cleanup, with a time frame and estimated cost in order to apply for the funds.
As far as enforcement goes, he said, the state is contemplating potential enforcement action against the person who allowed the garbage to be dumped on the site but that it has not been settled as to whether the state or the county would take the lead in that process.
The Commissioners may refigure their plan to gate the road and are considering using large rocks to close the road instead. Access to the property could still be gained through the ditch company’s gate.