A Smith County land owner is fighting to get pieces of old football turf removed from his property. The dumped Astroturf was discovered weeks ago, but so far no one has cleaned it up. Now, a Smith County Detective and Environmental Crimes Investigator has traced the piles of football field back to a stadium in Tyler.
"It's going to be a good, lengthy process to clean this mess up," says property owner John Lam.
Lam says he is trying to sell or lease his 7.3 acres off Highway 31, the dumped materials are deterring potential buyers.
"These guys that were going to lease this property, I haven't heard back from them and I'm sure that they didn't want to get involved," he says.
Piles and piles of old turf as well as several loads of gravel were dumped on Lam's property. Detective Tommy Goodman with Smith County's Environmental Crimes Department says he traced the illegally dumped material to Rose Stadium in Tyler.
When Tyler ISD replaced the stadium's turf in June, they contracted one company who then contracted someone else to haul the old turf to the landfill.
"Some of it wound up off of that location on 31 West. [The man who dumped it] admitted that he did haul it off and that he was more than willing to go out and clean it up," says Goodman.
Lam wants the turf off of his property and he wants it off fast, but he doesn't trust the people who dumped it there to clean up their mess.
"The only person that's going to clean it up is me. I'm not going to let them back on my property, but they're going to pay for cleaning this mess up one way or the other, if we have to go to court or whatever we have to do," he says.
Goodman says the person who dumped the turf and gravel has been cited and fined. Right now he's still working to help Lam and the contractors resolve the problem. The county says clean up is not Tyler ISD's responsibility, but the responsibility of the contractors. Thursday, the Tyler Independent School District told KLTV they do not condone the unauthorized actions of the subcontractor and hope this situation is resolved very soon.
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