Agriculture News: Old sinkholes used as open trash dumps getting cleaned up

By Keenan Bishop, Published:

The grass has started to green up, birds and frogs are getting noisier and the weather seems to finally be breaking — factoring out Tuesday’s snow. All this speaks of spring and has many feeling the need for spring cleaning.

Years ago, before countywide trash pickup and recycling, folks took their trash to designated locations where dumpsters were located for free dumping. Before our local government provided any of these services it was up to the individual to deal with their refuse.

Of course back then there was a lot less thrown away, but it still had to be dealt with. Trash was burned, which we know is not safe, healthy or even legal now. Trash was also just dumped into local areas designated as open dumps, which obviously was not safe or healthy either. Sinkholes were convenient for this practice as they were already a hole in the ground and so the trash just “disappeared.”

Unfortunately, these sinkholes are also a vital part of our water system. The water that goes in seeps its way underground and eventually comes back out into a spring, stream or well. The trash that was thrown in the sinkhole contaminates our water that we all eventually use. Fortunately, for the most part this practice has stopped. Unfortunately there are still many sinkholes out there filled with generations of trash.

The good news is the Franklin County Conservation District and Fiscal Court has been doing something about it. For the past several years the FCCD has teamed up with the County Road Department and located these abandoned dumps on private property and cleaned them out.

During the County Clean Up Week the road department hauls out its heavy equipment and cleans out sinkholes and repairs the damage. Trash goes to the landfill, metal like cars and farm equipment or appliances are recycled as are the tires. And we’re not talking about bagfulls here either. We’re talking about dozens and dozens of dump truck loads per site. 

Unfortunately what’s already gone underground is not reachable and remains.

Do you have an old dump on your property? Have you “inherited” a sinkhole that was used to dispose of farm and house waste? If so, now is the time to volunteer to have it cleaned up.

Give me a call at 502-695-9035 or Eric Phillips at 502-695-5203, ext. 3 to schedule a visit. 

There is no cost to the landowner and the county does all the work including re-grading and seeding when necessary. 

This is a win-win situation that helps the landowner, the environment and ultimately everybody in the form of improved water quality.

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