Misuse of public-private program to address recycling costs county TDEC citation

South Pittsburg, Tenn. – To partially address the need for a recycling program in the county, Marion County and the South Pittsburg Rotary Club have been sharing the cost of recycling containers at multiple locations in Marion County. The program has proven to be very popular. To the point that the need still exceeds the program’s capability is frequently on display by people simply dumping their recyclables next to the full containers. That practice has now caused the county to receive notification of violation from the state environmental enforcement arm.

This photo was included with the violation from TDEC clearing showing the intentional dumping of material that wouldn’t fit in the recycling….30 feet away from the convenience trash dumpster. – Submitted

According to County Mayor David Jackson at a recent Rotary meeting, “We received a Notice of Violation from TDEC. They inspect our convenience centers throughout the year. On an inspection on April the 8, we had trash around the recycle bin. Most of it was cardboard. They came back to do another inspection; there was still trash around the {recycling} dumpster, so they gave us a notice of violation. We have until June 15 to get it corrected. TDEC appreciates everything we’re trying to do with recycling, but we’ve got to keep that stuff off the ground. We’re only able to empty those every other Wednesday. I wish we could do more. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

The citation stemmed from some utilizing the containers, placing their recyclables on the ground around the container when the containers are full instead of taking the material to proper disposal. The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (“TDEC”) historically issues a Notice of Violation (“NOV”) and offers steps of remediation to avoid costly fines. However, if the merit of the citation remains by the deadline, the penalties can be in the thousands or tens of thousands of dollars. Unfortunately, TDEC was unable to produce the documents in reference to this particular NOV but conceded that the recent issuance might play a part in the latency is having the paperwork filed in Nashville, given a satellite office out of Chattanooga oversees our area.

Citizens who use the recycling bins are asked to accept the program’s limitations and take any recycling that cannot be contained inside the receptacle to a proper solid waste disposal location. Continued dumping will result in the removal of the recycling bins altogether. Additionally, a continuous abuse of the program could cost taxpayers the expense of penalties and fines. If it doesn’t fit inside the receptacle, it doesn’t belong near the recycling receptacle.

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