KENNETT, MO (KAIT) – Authorities in Dunklin County have been keeping close watch on one of the county's long time illegal dumpsites. Ditch 19 to the east of the Kennett city limits runs across Ely Street. Police said the dumpsite has been cleaned several times, only to become a crime scene again.
"I think it's a problem everywhere. I think every county experiences a certain amount of it," said Dunklin County Sheriff Bob Holder. "There are certain areas that people will take their trash and dump it and then that begins to build up and people get accustomed to seeing that, so then you got other people to bring it out there."
Region 8 News paid a visit to Ditch 19 last Wednesday, when there was a truck and car parked near the dumpsite. When we arrived, both vehicles left the area.
Aside from beer bottles and soda cans, other trash was found. Old tires, television sets, computer monitors and bags full of trash littered the side of the road. Under the bridge, more trash could be seen, including clothes and an old cooler.
"When people have to start spending money out of their own pocket to pay for the trash haul off, that's probably when the problem begins," said Holder.
Holder couldn't say whether or not the number of illegal dump sites have increased since the economy began to falter.
"A lot of times they'll take it out in the county, kind of similar to stray dogs. People have them come to a house in the city, they'll take them out in the county," said Holder.
Holder said Ditch 19 is primarily used for illegal dumping. In some other areas, however, methamphetamine contraband can be found.
"As far as meth labs on 19 Ditch, we haven't found any out there. That's basically just been trash and that's been going on for a number of years. That area has been cleaned out a couple of times," said Holder.
There have been instances in which a homeowner who lived in the county would pay an outside person to dispose of their trash. Holder warned people about that.
"If you've got your name and address on some envelopes that's in this trash. these people don't care so then when we find out, we go through the trash and find a name in there, then we go back to see that individual," said Holder. "You've paid somebody to haul your trash off, and you tell me who it is, rather than have the individual there. There have been times where the individual that paid somebody had them go out to clean it up because they can't tell us who it is."
Once an illegal dumpsite is discovered, many times the cleanup is left up to the public.
"We do not know. There's not any evidence in there that would tell me who has actually done the dumping, so when that happens, you just have to kind of depend on the township or others, farmers or whomever to kind of clean it up."