CORDOVA — The party responsible for leaving a shattered mirror near a Richmond County creek bank could face more than seven years of bad luck — if their identity was known.
The mirror, along with a wicker chair and several torn-open bags of trash were spotted last week at the Cordova Access point of the Hitchcock Creek Blue Trail.
Other items of refuse included a toilet brush, drink bottles, snack bags, food boxes and bottles of cleaning supplies and automotive fluids.
Rockingham Assistant City Manager John Massey said illegal dumping has been a “habitual problem” at that site since before it was part of the Blue Trail.
Although it is not city property, Massey said the city does clean it occasionally, as do other volunteer groups.
“It’s a frustrating situation, especially considering there is a County solid waste collection site immediately adjacent to the access where all the garbage could be legally disposed,” Massey said.
During a cleanup in 2016 by employees of nearby von Drehle and a kayaking club (as reported by this writer for the Daily Journal), discarded items included a muffler, a swimming pool liner, a busted kayak, tires and bottles — including one that had been used in the “shake-and-bake” method of methamphetamine production.
Last February, von Drehle employees — led by Operations Director Justin Dawkins — cleaned up the roadside and under the bridge, filling the bed of a pickup truck three times — but never made it to the access point.
Dawkins is also vice chairman of the Richmond County Board of Commissioners.
“Hopefully we can see our people be responsible for their trash, take it home with them, put it where it belongs, or tie down the trash on the way to the dumpsite,” Dawkins said last year. “I think this area is worse because it’s right here at a dump site.”
In addition to roadside refuse, illegal dumping statistics have been included in the county solid waste report, highlighted each month by County Manager Bryan Land.
On average, two to three illegal dump sites are investigated each month.
Earlier this month, the Solid Waste Department was alerted to a dump site at the end of Grace Chapel Church Road, southeast of Hamlet. Garbage in one pile included several jugs and trash bags and a ceiling fan.
Assistant Public Works Director Bryan Leggett said Monday that the site has since been cleaned.
“From my understanding, a citizen witnessed the illegal dumping and approached them after it was dumped,” Leggett said in an email.
Leggett added that Litter Enforcement Officer Allen Hodges picked up about 12 full bags of trash and the individual who dumped it came back to clean up the loose litter.
More than 7 tons of trash were picked up across the county in January and nearly 60 tons were collected in 2021, according to county reports.
Leggett acknowledges that some of the trash isn’t intentionally thrown out, but can fall out of trucks and trailers on the way to the dump.
“Anyone that is hauling trash needs to make sure their loads are secured or tarped, so bags do not fall off,” Leggett said.
The county will be participating in N.C. Department of Transportation’s Spring Litter Sweep April 18-22. Any individuals or businesses who are interested in helping are encouraged to call 910-997-8215 to sign up.
A countywide Earth Day cleanup effort last May saw 39 groups collect 404 bags of trash weighing 6,449 pounds.
The county’s annual household hazardous waste collection day is slated for April 9, from 9 a.m.- 1 p.m. in the parking lot of the Human Services Complex on Caroline Street. Residents are encouraged to bring items that aren’t accepted at the landfill or convenience sites including latex and oil-based paints, household cleaners, batteries and fluorescent lights.