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City, recycling district clean illegal dumps

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By Kevin Koelling, Managing Editor

Mayor: One site had years of accumulation

TELL CITY - The director of the Perry County Recycling Management District said he doesn't want to get into "wholesale" cleanups of illegal dumps, but said he was glad to help get some of them cleaned up.

"The city had a real battle the last week-and-a-half" dealing with illegal dumping, Tell City Mayor and district board of directors member Barbara Ewing said at a meeting Wednesday.

Executive Director Paul Alvey had told the board that district workers responded to several reports of illegal dumping. What they found "was not hazardous materials, but items like sofas and mattresses - nuisance items."

Ewing said one dump yielded evidence as to who was responsible for it.

"We have partnered with the city and agreed to take tires found at the dump," Alvey said. "Hopefully we'll be reimbursed by the person who owned them."

One site contained "years of accumulation," Ewing said, amounting to three trash compactors' worth.

"I appreciate the cooperation from your guys," she told Alvey.

"We're in the process of invoicing the property owner," he said, explaining the bill can "become a lien on the property if it's not paid."

Tires are a particular problem, he noted, because they catch and hold water that becomes breeding sites for mosquitoes.

Baler Being Built

In other business, Alvey said a baler, used to compress and tie recycled materials for shipment, had been purchased and was being assembled. The district is purchasing a conveyor system to use with it, he added, crediting Steve Lutgring and other members of the district's advisory board for working to install it in the floor at the district's Cannelton site.

"That will significantly improve the way we handle product," Alvey said of the recyclable materials collected at the site and sold to brokers. He'll have three bids for the floor installation at the board's next meeting, he added.

He also reported nearly $24,000, the first half of a state grant to help pay for the equipment, had been received.

Recycling Revenues Rise

In reporting on recyclable materials handled by the district, "we're trending ahead," Alvey said. "Cardboard is still doing well; I'm real pleased with that, but I'm a little concerned about the price of fuel like everyone else."

The district received just under $29,000 in revenues from recyclables by the end of April, according to a report Alvey provides to the board each month.

The figure for the same time last year was just over $18,200, he said, but he noted the amount jumped to $34,000 by May. "It almost doubled in one month," he noted.

River Sweepers Signing Up

Alvey also reported local schools and others have expressed interest in this year's River Sweep, an annual riverbank cleanup that extends the entire length of the Ohio River and its tributaries. More than 3,000 miles of shoreline is combed for trash and debris each year. Scheduled for June 21, "it's open to anyone who'd like to come down, not just groups," Ewing pointed out.

People who'd like to volunteer for the event in Perry County can call Alvey's office at 547-9787. The board's next meeting will begin at 6 p.m. May 22 in the courthouse.