Through the years Dennis Fulmer has had mattresses, furniture, chairs, large pieces of cardboard, sheet rock, linen, rugs and bags of trash in his yard and none of it was his.
“You name it, we get it,” Fulmer said of living along S.C. 90 near Horry County’s landfill. “This is the stuff that lands in my yard.”
Fulmer’s complaint comes in a year where the Horry County Council has dedicated an additional $333,000 toward a litter program to keep the county clean; however, Fulmer’s complaint has prompted an Horry County councilman to ask just what the county has accomplished with the new program.
Mark Lazarus, chairman of the County Council, said he has asked the Horry County Police Department to step up its patrol in the S.C. 90 area to ticket offenders who may be leaving trash strewn across the neighborhood.
“One of things I’m hearing is the trash trucks are coming in with the tarps on top, but they’re leaving with them open,” Lazarus said. “That might be something that we might need to look into, because whatever is left over falls out and spreads out when the air gets to it.”
Lazarus said the funded litter program is aimed at cracking down on offenders who disregard the county’s laws on litter, including an effort to step up fines.
“We are attacking trash,” Lazarus said. “We are going after it hard. This council put a lot of money in this budget to attack trash, not just in the Highway 90 area, but the entire county.”
County Councilman Paul Prince said an occasional report was a contingency on the county allocating the money to cleanup, and six weeks into the new fiscal year, a report has not been generated.
“I want us to have a full report at the next meeting on what has been done and what has been achieved on helping to clean up these roads,” he said of the Sept. 2 meeting. “I want to know what tickets have been written and where they have been written at, and what’s been done on it.”
Richard Fulmer is a neighbor of his brother Dennis, and has had problems with trash for years.
“Every time I cut my grass, I have to pick up a whole bag of trash,” Richard Fulmer said. “I got to take it back to the landfill.”
Danny Knight, executive director of the Horry County Solid Waste Authority which operates the landfill, said the authority monitors an eight-mile stretch of land along S.C. 90 and picks up loose garbage when it sees it.
He said the authority has up to five meetings a year with its haulers and said he will mention the neighbors’ concerns about the flying trash. In the meantime, he said, Horry County Police could write more citations, which, he said, would catch the attention of drivers rather quickly.
“I think if the county litter patrol wrote more citations, I think that will get the word out quicker than anything in the world,” Knight said. “If more tickets are written, then the drivers will check their loads. If they know that they may get a ticket, then I think they’ll monitor it closer.”
Lt. Robert Kegler, spokesman for the county police, said enforcement efforts have stepped up, but he did not have a break down of how the new money was being spent.
Knight said the landfill will do its part to spread the word that too much trash is leaving the landfill.
“We can suggest, and in fact we can hand out some pamphlets at the scale that ... encourage people to keep the trucks covered in and out,” Knight said. “We’ll see big items like that and we’ll send somebody to pick it up. I’m not saying we can get every single thing out there.”
Dennis Fulmer said he hopes the county takes action and keeps the burden of cleaning up after dump trucks off its residents.
“Nobody picks it up except for the landowners,” Dennis Fulmer said. “And low and behold, when the grass cutters come by, do you think they get out of their air-conditioned tractors and clean up this mess before they mow it? It’s strung all over the place.
“We, as landowners, have to pick this trash up and transport it to the recycle center. This is our time and our expense that something, not this present council, but Horry County has given us. It’s not my responsibility to clean up behind Horry County.”