Accumulation and illegal burning of trash causing problems in ET - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Accumulation and illegal burning of trash causing problems in ETX

By Lauren Callahan

SMITH COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - Smith County Volunteer Firemen's Association President Tommy Brock says Smith County fire departments respond to "three or four" calls a day that are the result of illegal burning. He always asks these people the same question.

"Do you not realize there's a burn ban and has been on since July? And a lot of them will think, well, because it rained I thought it'd be ok to burn. Well the burn ban is still a law, it's still into effect," Brock said.

With the burn ban comes the accumulation of trash in a lot of rural areas. And as that trash continues to grow, some residents and businesses are burning it off, despite the possibility of being fined.

The only current solution for lessening the trash accumulation problem is for each resident or business to pay a private sanitation company to pick up the trash. Such service costs around $20 per month, but many rural residents say they cannot afford the service and continue to burn.

"I don't know why the commissioner's court may not try to work with the trash disposal service that has the landfill and see what we could do about possibly putting up like some roll off dumpsters spaced around the county for a countywide cleanup," Brock said.

Smith County Litter Abatement Officer Tommy Goodman says County Judge Joel Baker is aware of the trash problem and will be meeting with county commissioners soon.

"We understand he's going to get with the commissioners and try to come up with something for [rural residents who have a trash problem]," Goodman said. "But at this time we don't have anything for them."

And until Judge Baker lifts the burn ban, it's still illegal to burn anything, anywhere.

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