Jack Philips, owner of The Cork Boutique and Gifts and Irish Bred Pub and Restaurant in downtown Covington, came before the Covington City Council last week to express his interest in volunteering for one of the city’s various committees. However, he also expressed concern about illegal dumping at his businesses.
“We actually rent a dumpster from the city and since the county has had some issues, let’s say, with solid waste, we are seeing dumping in our dumpsters,” Philips said. “I have come in several Monday mornings and had to climb in our own dumpster to pull out bed frames, children’s clothes, household trash, things that we can’t even use our dumpster for.
“Yes, we’ve actually thought about putting chain-link fencing around it just so we can keep people out, but I guess the question is: is the city aware that we are having people using privately owned dumpsters now within the city limits?”
Covington Mayor Ronnie Johnston said the county’s solid waste issue is a massive problem. Johnston also serves as a member on the Newton County Solid Waste Authority (SWA). He said the SWA is well on its way to finding a solution to the problem.
“It is an incredibly – a lot of people like to think it is a pretty easy issue, it’s not. It is relatively complicated,” he said. “We’re trying to find a solution. It’s not just a solution for the county, as you very well know, it impacts us all.”
Philips said he has security camera footage of landscapers – with the full company logo visible - putting tree clippings and yard debris in his dumpsters. He has since called the owner of the company and was told it will never happen again.
Johnston said the city can issue citations for the illegal dumping.
“It’s one of those things that I would encourage everybody to work together on,” he said. “It may get – I’ll be honest with you – it may get a little bit worse before it gets better, but we are well on our way to a solid solution that is not politically driven.”
Deputy City Manager Billy Bouchillon said the city is aware of the problem and is in the process of getting stickers made for its dumpsters. He also said the Covington Police Department (CPD) has been made aware of the issue and told to be on the lookout for the illegal dumping.
“Please don’t hesitate to call if you do have that situation, because we don’t want it sitting out there either,” City Manager Leigh Anne Knight said. “We’ve got to get that call that – you know – have that issue.”