County commission discusses unauthorized dumping in Towns Riverview South

Meghan Flynn
Garden City Telegram

Unauthorized dumping has been occurring in Towns Riverview South, and the Finney County Commission discussed the dumping at its regular meeting Tuesday.

No action was taken on the issue, other than agreement to look into solving the problem.

Roger Calkins, Finney County Public Works director, said the location of the dumping has been involved in the countywide spring and fall cleanup events.

During the cleanup events, citizens can dump their trash at designated locations throughout the county and then county workers haul the trash away, Calkins said. After the last fall cleanup event, people have continued to dump at the site throughout the year.

The difficulty with this site is that it's private property, Calkins said, so he attempted to help the landowner by getting law enforcement involved and stop the dumping.

"We fenced off the area and put up 'No Dumping' signs in English and Spanish," he said. "Finney County Sheriff's Department installed cameras to catch violators dumping illegally."

Fencing was also wrapped around the property and dirt was hauled in to block off a drive to keep people out of the area.

Calkins said the camera did catch people dumping; however, when contacted about the dumping, they said that the landowner allows them to dump there.

Calkins wants guidance in how to handle the problem, but does not believe the county should be responsible for further cleanup of the area. It will not be used in the upcoming spring cleanup unless directed otherwise.

Commissioner Lon Pishny said the site is in his district and he knew some of this was going on, but didn't know the full extent until he was contacted by a former commissioner who said he's "had trouble with trash blowing from this unauthorized dumping area into his fields and his pastures."

Pishny said he believes the site should no longer be used for dumping and has posted on his subdivisions Facebook page to tell people to stop dumping there.

"This has been going on for a number of years, the landowner, the senior landowner has been too lenient in my opinion and we need to use some enforcement to stop this unauthorized dump site," he said.

Pishny suggested that the county should help the landowner a final time to clean up the site and work with the landowner to secure it and put up more signs along the roadway stating that no dumping is allowed.

Commissioner William Clifford said he is sympathetic to the landowner and agrees there should be one last clean up, but it does need enforcement.

"It's obviously frustrating because (the dumpers caught) thought they had permission," he said. "I know it's a burden for Roger and his guys, but I do think one last clean up and then an enforcement is appropriate."

Commissioner Duane Drees disagreed.

"I think that's the landowners’ responsibility because the signs are there and he didn't stop it," he said. "I'm all for waiving fees, but I'm not so sure I'm ready to commit county labor to pick up the mess."