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EPD wins judgement against man charged with illegal dumping, burning

By Walter Geiger The Georgia Environmental Protection Division has won a judgement against a local man who has allegedly admitted to operating an illegal solid waste dump in the local industrial park and illegally burning tires and other waste there. An assistant state attorney general entered a judgement against James D. Harris after EPD investigations of his property in the industrial park revealed ‘open dumping and burning of scrap tires, construction and demolition material, wood, asphalt, plastic, concrete, bricks, etc.’ in violation of solid waste and air quality rules. The judgement was filed in superior court here Feb. 9. Harris is the owner of three tracts of land totaling 5.9 acres on Industrial Drive adjacent to Chasteen Trucking and behind the now defunct Rivera Parts operation. Other bordering properties are owned by Grain Craft, Barnesville Bear of Hampton and the county solid waste authority. EPD investigators following up on a complaint first visited the site which they termed an ‘˜open dump’ on Dec. 10, 2015. In addition to construction and demolition debris, they found approximately 225 scrap tires and evidence of improper disposal and storage of petroleum products and other solid waste. According to court documents, Harris admitted to openly dumping at the site for the past four or five years. At that time, Harris was given a checklist of requirements he had to comply with in order to mitigate the environmental damage and threats at the site. A followup visit on Feb. 11, 2016 found he had made no effort to clean up the site and had illegally burned some or all of the tires. EPD acquired a consent order and, later that month, Harris replied that he did not have the financial resources to pay for the mitigation or pay any fines. At present, little or no cleanup at the site has been done, according to EPD. The most recent judgement gives Harris 60 days to come into compliance or face even more serious penalties pursuant to a hearing.

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