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EPD looks into illegal dumping
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The Georgia Environmental Protection Division is investigating a case of illegal dumping of construction demolition materials by the Yellow River along Sycamore Trail.

Mike Rodock, industrial team supervisor for the Northeast District of EPD, said EPD was alerted to the dumping on May 14. The site, which is not far from Riverside Estates Mobile Park, has not yet been cleaned up. Rodock said he did not know how much construction material had been dumped but said it was in the tons and extended over 11 different property parcels.

"We believe there are some solid waste violations that have occurred out there," Rodock said. "We're still involved in the investigation."

The dumped material reportedly includes insulation, shingles, glass, nails and other construction related materials

"We're really trying to find out if the proper procedures have been followed," Rodock said. "There could be all kinds of other issues that we're looking into."

Rodock said EPD does not yet know for certain who is responsible for the dumping but the department has "strong leads."

 The department won't know until the investigation has been completed what specific EPD rules have been violated

"Open dumping at this point is the only law that we can say is in violation," Rodock said. "There are others, I assume because there is probably illegal transportation."

Rodock said the penalty for an open dumping violation, which falls under the Solid Waste Act, carries with it a maximum $25,000 per day fine.

 The fine would be applied from the day the material was dumped to the date it was cleaned up he said.

As the Yellow River is not a drinking water source, Rodock said the quality of drinking water for Newton County and the surrounding area should not be affected.

 A special investigator from Atlanta has been brought in to take samples from the construction material to check for asbestos.

If asbestos is found in the material, the cost of cleaning it up will increase dramatically.

"If asbestos is found, the entire site would be classified as an asbestos waste site," Rodock said. "Any asbestos would have to be removed and that material would have to be handled in a specific way."

Rodock said cleanup costs of the site could be levied on the owners of the land where the material was dumped, owners of the facility where it came from and the people who transported the material to the site.