Garbage overflowing in subdivision

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 3, 2003

A group of residents near Antioch Road are concerned about their living conditions. Not because their homes are dangerous or dilapidated, but because they've had no garbage service for what they say is more than 2 months.

The concerned citizens, who wish to remain anonymous, live in the Dogwood Court Trailer Park just off of Antioch Road, outside the city limits of Andalusia.

According to one resident, "We shouldn't have to live like this. There's mail and trash all over the place. Scattered on the ground, in people's yards. Dogs are digging in it and eating the garbage. It's just not clean."

The subdivision, owned by Johnny and Debra Hoomes, has a dumpster on the property for residents to dump their garbage. But that dumpster hasn't been emptied in quite some time. A fact confirmed by Pam Collum of BFI, the environmental waste system contracted to handle garbage pick-up in Covington County.

"The dumpster has not been picked up because the bill hasn't been paid since early summer," Collum said. "BFI has tried to work out payment arrangements with the owners, but it hasn't been successful yet. The owners are trying though."

However, garbage has been removed from the site in the past few months. It just hasn't been picked up by a garbage truck.

"There has been some garbage gathered and dumped at our transfer station," Collum said. "That's been paid for on a per-drop basis. The owners are really trying to make an effort to get it cleaned up. That's the main thing."

The garbage problem could lead to poetntial health risks for residents.

According to Barbara Henley with the Covington County Health Department.

"With any garbage that's left like that, it is a nuisance and potential health problem," Henley said. "It can provide a habitat and food for vermin to live and breed. It needs to be contained and delivered to the proper disposal site."

Those vermin can include flies, mosquitoes and mice or rats which can carry disease and cause health problems for humans and other animals.

Some people may wonder why the residents just don't burn the garbage. If they did, that would be illegal.

In Covington County, garbage pick-up has been contracted to be picked up by and disposed of properly for 10 years now.

"The County does require garbage pick-up," said County Commission Chairman Greg White. "It is for safety and health reasons, but primarily to reduce the amount of illegal dump sites in Covington County."

But it's not all bad news for the residents of the trailer park.

According to owner Debra Hoomes, she is aware of the garbage situation at the facility, and she and her husband are trying to do something about it. At the same time, she also says there's a problem that's contributing to the excessive garbage situation.

"We've had a problem out there where people that don't live in the park bring their garbage to the dumpster," Hoomes said. "We have been trying to haul the garbage off to the (transfer station) in trucks until we can get the bill paid up and everything back in order. It's just hard when so many people who don't live their dump their garbage there."

The Hoomes, who have owned the park for almost two years, have been working diligently to make it a good place to live.

"We're trying," she said. "But, sometimes you get residents who just don't care, and it's hard to keep everything up. We're going to get it solved though so there will be nice places for the people to live."

In the mean time, Hoomes said that she will continue to pick the garbage up and carry it to the transfer station until she's able to get everything squared away.

One option that Hoomes is looking at in the future includes individuals garbage carts for each residence to help curb excessive garbage and trash in the park.

"Over half of the residents in trailer parks handle their own garbage, or have it included in their rent," Collum said. "It is a possibility once everything is paid up, the residents could get individual carts."