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Last week under a thick tree canopy shading a beautiful rural area of Elk Creek, a large piece of machinery could be heard roaring up and down the bluff.
Closer observation revealed that the operator was carefully removing scores of muddy, dirty tires and other debris from what appeared at first glance to be pristine wooded land. But a closer look showed that someone — perhaps many people — had taken advantage of the heavily wooded land for less than pure purposes. Hundreds of tires, some toilets, washers, dryers, old automobile engines and more have been haphazardly dumped on the property over the years.
Spencer County Solid Waste Coordinator Curtis Ochs led a Spencer Magnet reporter last Tuesday on an impromptu tour of the land, which is the county’s latest dump cleanup project.
The work started last Monday and should only take a couple of days, weather permitting. The land owner has yet to be determined, but Ochs said the area was inspected and determined illegal by the Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection last year. He said a local resident reported the site. The cleanup is in part being funded by state grant funds. The land, known as the Little Elk Creek Dump, is being cleaned up by county employees and local contractors.
Ochs said the site appears to belong to an old estate and that charges most likely will not be filed against any one person, because the area had been used for many years by numerous individuals for illegal trash disposal. Ochs said the county’s main concern was getting the trash and debris removed because it posed an environmental hazard.
According to the state’s report, the dump is located on the bank of Little Elk Creek off Ky. 55 north. The estimated size was 20 feet wide, 30 feet long and 5 feet deep. However, Ochs said once workers started removing trash, they realized it was larger.
Ochs said the project is one of two included in grant funding the county received last November. Once the Little Elk Creek dump cleanup is completed, the county will move on to a dump on the Leon Bentley Estate Property, located in the Waterford area off of Ky. 44. The county has until December 2012 to utilize the $7,368 in funds received to clean up the two sites.
“I’m very, very pleased with how the county looks today (as compared to) how it did 10 years ago,” Ochs said of cleanup efforts.