illegal dumping

This site near Highway 22 at Hillabee Creek was cleared of asphalt shingles last week only to be dumped on illegally this week.

Many property owners in Alexander City and Tallapoosa County are replacing roofs after the April 19 hail storm.

While most contractors are following the regulations to dispose of asphalt shingles and other roofing materials, a few have resorted to dumping the construction debris illegally. The sites are scattered around the northern end of Tallapoosa County and as soon as the illegal dump site is cleaned up, more asphalt shingles appear. One such case is just off Highway 22 near Hillabee Creek within sight of the highway.

“We had cleaned up that site last week,” Tallapoosa County commissioner John McKelvey said. “Thursday night or Friday morning someone has dumped more asphalt shingles and other debris in the same place.”

McKelvey said Tallapoosa County District 3 employees have cleaned up several sites and disposed of the materials properly.

“We took the debris to Stone’s Throw Landfill,” McKelvey said. “It appears contractors are dumping materials from roofing jobs. There are torn-off shingles with nails, pallets shingles are shipped on and the wrappers from the bundles.”

Friday morning, the second littering of asphalt shingles on the Highway 22 site included a blue tarp that appeared to have been a temporary cover for a property owner’s roof, aluminum cans, water and beer bottles, a pallet and bundle wrappers.

Lake Martin Resource Association president John Thompson said the situation is dire enough the organization is offering a reward 

“We are offering a reward up to $5,000 to those with information that leads to an arrest and conviction of those responsible,” Thompson said. 

It is not the first time LMRA has offered and given a reward for stopping illegal dumping in Tallapoosa County.

“We gave a reward for reporting an illegal dump on Genie Martin Road,” Thompson said. “(The individual) dug through and found an address. He took the information to the (Tallapoosa County) Sheriff’s Department and they made the offender clean up the site.”

LMRA is highly active in stopping illegal dumping and littering to prevent the materials from getting into Lake Martin. Thompson said since asphalt shingles are an oil-based product, he is highly concerned about them deteriorating and runoff carrying the residue to streams and to the lake.

“These people are indiscriminate where they dump,” Thompson said. “They could dump it in a ditch where no one can see it. From there it can easily get into the watershed.

Building permits are required on roofing projects and most any home construction project in Alexander City. City of Alexander City Building Department’s Eddie Patterson said state code regulates the permitting requirements. Patterson said contractors must be state licensed, have an Alexander City business license and a building permit to replace a roof. Patterson said the city has no requirement on disposal of construction materials and the disposal of construction materials is regulated by the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM).

Contractors working on property in the city limits of Alexander City can take construction debris to the city’s inert landfill on North Central Avenue. 

Proper disposal of construction debris has been occurring at the inert landfill site according to Alexander City Public Works director Gerard Brewer.

“We have taken tons of roofing materials, especially in the last couple of months,” Brewer said. “We only take materials from within the city limits. We can take things like shingles with nails and wood, just not treated lumber.”

Brewer said some loads have been turned away at the landfill because materials were in the load that cannot be dumped at the North Central Avenue location because of permitting.

“We can’t take any household garbage,” Brewer said. “We rejected two loads. They had regular garbage mixed in with the shingles. We cannot take that and we cannot sort it.”

Brewer said the city charges $5 per cubic yard of material brought to the dump and the average cost of disposing the materials from the average roof of a home should be less than $100.

Cliff Williams is a staff writer for Tallapoosa Publishers.