No timeline for Limestone Co. debris removal - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

No timeline for Limestone Co. debris removal

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ADEM calls this spot on Leggtown Road an illegal dump site. ADEM calls this spot on Leggtown Road an illegal dump site.
LIMESTONE COUNTY, AL (WAFF) -

The Limestone County Commission has contacted the Alabama Department of Environmental Management after receiving a notice of violation from the agency last week.

ADEM contacted the commission (PDF) about what they call an illegal dump site on Leggtown Road. Residents in the area say the material in the dump site is making them sick.

The issue surrounds a county-issued demolition of an Athens building. Some of the debris caught fire, and county leaders said it could contain asbestos.

ADEM citations indicate the group says Limestone County leaders did not inspect the L & S building for things like asbestos at least 10 days before tearing it down.

Officials also cited the man renting the land where the debris ended up. A letter dated May 7 from ADEM says Johnny Abernathy operated an unauthorized solid waste dump.

County Commissioner Ben Harrison said he is investigating why the debris ended up on the farm land near Elkmont. He said the concern is that some of the debris caught fire, and they want to make sure nothing harmful got into the air.

"I wanted to go out there and take care of it immediately," said Harrison. "But once ADEM becomes involved, we cannot touch it."

The county cannot begin cleanup before ADEM approves the plan. Harrison said he has contacted ADEM to expedite the process. He said he wants to know everything the group wants to see in the plan, so when it is submitted, it will not be rejected.

"We have a 30-day window to respond and to develop a plan and submit it," Harrison said. "ADEM, at that point, after we submit a plan, they have 30 days to respond, but I am trying to accelerate that."

Commissioner Harrison said he had no knowledge county crews put the debris on the property until after the work started. He now wants the commission to change the way they go about doing their business, so all commissioners know what is going on at all times.

"We're going to work in future sessions to establish a policy to ensure this doesn't happen again," he said. "All actions like this will be taken with full commissioner knowledge."

Copyright 2014 WAFF. All rights reserved.

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