MAGOFFIN COUNTY – On Tuesday, Governor Andy Beshear and Kentucky Energy and Environment (EEC) Cabinet Secretary Rebecca Goodman announced approximately $587,000 in grants for the cleanup of 72 illegal dumps across the state, with nine located in Magoffin County.
“Kentuckians deserve to live in clean, safe communities. Illegal dump sites can affect families’ quality of life and property values through no fault of their own,” Gov. Beshear said. “This grant program provides a healthier environment for thousands of our people.”
Of the nearly $600,000 awarded throughout the state, Magoffin County was awarded $84,582.64 to clean up nine illegal dumps, including the following sites: Bull Creek Road Dumps #1 and 2, Half Mountain Road Dump #4, Howards Branch Road Dump, Jellico Road Dump #3, KY 114 (Tire Dump), KY 3333 Dump #4, North Ridge Road Dump #3, and Tackett Memorial Cemetery Road Dump.
As part of the grant funding, counties must agree to provide a 25 percent match of the grant amount. The EEC may waive the 25 percent match on any individual illegal open dump where cleanup costs exceed $50,000.
Magoffin County Judge-Executive Matt Wireman explained to the Independent that they submitted nine sites for the grant and all nine were approved. Last year, Magoffin County received approximately $225,000 to clean up 15 dumpsites, two of which were large and exceeded the threshold of having to pay the matching costs.
“In two years, that’s 24 dumpsites and we’ve already identified more for next year, Wireman said. “It’s great that we’re getting this, but it’s a shame we have to ask for the money to clean it up. We need people to have more pride in the county and we need people to be vigilant, reporting when they see something.”
Wireman said they have security cameras installed at known dumpsites and they continue to monitor the surveillance videos, which have led to them identifying people who have illegally dumped trash at some of these sites.
“It’s terrible that as beautiful as Magoffin is, it is speckled with illegal dumps,” Wireman said. “Most people don’t do this, but we’ve got a certain segment of folks that thinks this is okay. We have a beautiful county and we want to entice businesses to transfer to Magoffin, so we will be stepping up our enforcement on illegal dumping.”
While not often the case, this grant will provide the money up front prior to the projects start. Wireman said they will begin in March and will have to have all the projects completed by February 2022.
Wireman noted that the county will have manpower at the sites, as well as large county-owned equipment. As part of the grant, they will reclaim the land after the dumps are cleaned up, planting grass seed and doing landscaping as needed.
The following counties received grants: Adair, Breathitt, Butler, Floyd, Green, Hart, Henderson, Johnson, LaRue, Lawrence, Madison, Magoffin, Marshall, Metcalfe, Pike, Warren, Whitley and Wolfe.
“This grant has funded the clean up more than 2,000 dump sites across the state since its creation in 2006,” Secretary Goodman said.
“I encourage all counties to take advantage of this program.”
Grants for the Illegal Open Dump Grant Program comes from the Kentucky Pride Fund, which is generated through a $1.75 environmental remediation fee for each ton of garbage dumped at Kentucky municipal solid waste landfills. This “tipping fee” was first authorized by the 2002 General Assembly under House Bill 174, for use in a dump cleanup reimbursement program, and for the remediation of historic landfills. In 2006, Senate Bill 50 changed the reimbursement program to a grant program and expanded the scope of the fund to address household hazardous waste collection and recycling infrastructure.
Kentucky has made significant progress in addressing the illegal dump issue thanks to this funding, along with statewide cleanup and educational campaigns by local, state and federal agencies.