ROCKINGHAM — Richmond County Solid Waste employees picked up nearly the amount of trash in January of this year as they did the previous two months combined.
According to the monthly solid waste report, a total of 9.66 tons of litter were collected from local roads in the first month of the year.
Workers reportedly filled 323 bags from 33 roads, some of which were cleared multiple times. They also picked up six tires and investigated three illegal dump sites.
One explanation for the increased weight is that more roads were cleared than usual. The county and N.C. Department of Transportation generally clean around 25 roads per month.
A breakdown by road is not available for October 2022-January 2023. However, the most problematic areas are usually south of Mill Road in the East Rockingham area, and Wiregrass Road between Rockingham and Hamlet.
Departmental records show 63.65 tons of litter were picked up in 2022 — surpassing the previous year by more than three tons.
Illegal dumping also continues to be a problem.
On Oct. 19, 2022, county employees recovered six tires from Roberdel School Road, mattresses from Sam Richardson and Lee Thee Church roads, and several bags of trash from Seaboard Road, off of N.C. 177, according to Public Works Director Jerry Austin.
The county will again be participating in NCDOT’s Spring Litter Sweep April 17-22, according to County Manager Bryan Land.
In 2022, 213 volunteers — mostly from 19 groups — picked up 155 bags for a total 1,920 pounds of litter.
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The annual household hazardous waste collection event is scheduled for Saturday, April 15, from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. at the parking lot of the Human Services Complex on Caroline Street.
The collection is a joint effort between the Solid Waste Department, the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the local N.C. Cooperative Extension office.
“As always, all items not typically accepted at our box sites will be accepted that day,” Land said.
Those items include:
- oil-based and latex paints and paint-related materials
- alkaline, lead acid and rechargeable batteries
- aerosols, household cleaners and drain openers, solvents and degreasers
- fluorescent light tubes and light ballasts
- thermostats and metallic mercury
- propane cylinders
- oxidizers (pool chemicals)
Last year, a record 11.28 tons of hazardous waste, mostly paint-related materials, were dropped off.