|By Al Owens
Lewis County Judge
Executive Steve Applegate and Solid Waste Coordinator John Teager announced that mandatory
garbage collection for all county residents are coming.
The county ordinance regarding garbage pickup has been in effect since 1987. Teager
said that to be in compliance with county ordinance 314, residents should have their
garbage picked up anyway. The law has not been strictly enforced but new state laws will
change that policy of leniency.
Applegate said, "It's a known fact that every county is the state is going to
eventually be state-mandated for trash pickup."
He added that mandatory trash pickup provides a good service for the residents of the
county. It eliminates the reason for anybody to dump garbage alongside the highway, or in
illegal dumpsites or bringing it into town and using other people's Dumpsters.
"Basically," he asserted, "it's cleaning up the county." Applegate
pointed out that the state is going to provide financial assistance for the program. He
said that if the county is going to attract industry, the better our county looks the more
apt we are to get people to come in here.
Applegate hopes that all the carriers will get together and basically charge the same
rate countywide, and that will probably be about $12 per month.
The judge explained that hopefully the charge would be added to the resident's utility
bill. That hasn't yet been arranged with the four providers of electricity in the county.
If it can be set up, then the carriers will have a 100 percent collection rate because
the utilities will be cut off if the fee isn't paid. The collection headaches for the
carriers would be eliminated.
Teager pointed out that the city already
has this. The trash pickup charge of $9 is part of the monthly utility bill.
Teager said that he has already cited probably 120 violators of the current county
He said that once a citizen is cited for being in violation of the ordinance, they have
14 days to get in compliance by cleaning up and illegal dumpsite or illegal disposal at
The procedure calls for pictures to be taken at the time the citation is issued and
then taken again after 14 days. He said that so far he has had to turn in only nine
violators to the County Attorney.
Teager clarified that the citations are for either illegal dumpsites or improper
disposal of trash at the residence.
He added that after 14 days give for compliance, the cited resident must show
documented proof that the garbage was taken to the landfill or was picked up by a hauler
with a valid permit. That procedure ensures that the person doesn't take the trash up a
hollow and dump it. Proof also must be shown that the resident is on a weekly pickup by a
He said that as of 2002, the census shows that Lewis County had 5,422 households.
Currently carriers are picking up trash at 3,300 homes.
Teager said that last year the county paid $15,843 to clean up illegal dumpsites. He
said that the county now has 21 large illegal dumpsites.
To clean them up will cost an estimated $130,081 but the state will reimburse the
county if it qualifies by going mandatory up to the 85 percent required.
Some 300 tons of garbage was picked up out of just one illegal dumpsite.