Employees at the McGiboney Road Neighborhood Recycling Center received a rude surprise when they returned to work Thursday morning from their Fourth of July holiday - over one ton of garbage had been unceremoniously dumped in front of the locked gate.
Though there were signs prominently displayed on the gates informing the public that it is illegal to dump garbage in front of the gates and that those who do so will face a fine, many people decided to do so anyway according to Newton County Code Officer Phil Durand.
"This is the worst one we've had in a while," said Durand of the dumping. "Sometimes we get two or three bags now and then."
During holidays when the county's recycling centers are closed, Durand said there are more incidents of illegal dumping.
However none of the other 11 county recycling centers reported any illegal dumping over the holiday, said Durand.
"Instead of them just taking it back home and waiting until it was open they threw it out," Durand said.
Several of the garbage bags had burst open and dogs had begun to rifle through the trash.
"It was already full of flies, gnats and maggots and everything else," said Durand of the mess.
The county will be enforcing the fines said Durand. After sifting through the garbage for several hours, Durand said he now has the names of about 20 people who he believes were the ones to dump their garbage in front of the gates. On Monday Durand said he would be going to the homes of each of the 20 individuals to issue them a citation for illegal dumping. Those cited will have to go to magistrate court and pay a minimum $250 fine.
The fact that Newton County recycling centers now have new hours - 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Sunday - was not likely a contributing factor in the dumping said Durand. The new hours went into effect on July 1.