SPARTA, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) - Hancock county is called the "Hidden Jewel of Georgia,"but people who live there say that jewel is covered in trash. Residents say it's been a mess for as long as they can remember. Now they're demanding the county step in and clean it up.
41NBC visited two dumps sites off Carr Station's Road and Jones Chapel Road on Thursday. (Photo credit: Elisa Vorphal 7/17/13) Those sites were clean, but residents say the ground was covered in trash and the dumpsters were overflowing a few days ago. The county is well aware of the trash problem and it is working on a permanent solution.
"You can look up and down the road, this is one of the nastiest counties in Georgia," Hancock County resident David Williams said.
Williams says it is only getting worse. There are 10 unmanned dumps in the county.
"The dumps are filled with bags of trash that have been overflowing out of the dumpsters, cut open and scattered," Hancock County resident Elisa Vorphal said. "Stray dogs, cats, I actually photographed a rattle snake at the dump in Devereux. These are dangerous circumstances for anyone to put themselves into."
Vorphal has been taking pictures of the dump sites everyday and posting them on her Facebook page, "Take Out the Trash in Hancock County." She says it has gotten so bad that you can't even walk up to the dumpster to throw away your trash and some don't even try.
"When you pull up to a trash dump and there's trash everywhere and you throw it on the trash because you can't get to the bins, that's illegal dumping," she said.
If caught, you could get fined. Back in May, the county started enforcing its litter law because of the pileup, but Vorphal doesn't think its fair.
"If you pull up to the trash dump and your dumpsters there are full and there's a mountain of trash, what do you do with your trash?" Vorphal asked.
It's a problem county leaders are working on.
"It's actually terrible. We seem to be overwhelmed with trash. its seems awfully difficult to keep the sites clean," Hancock County Chairwoman Sistie Hudson said.
The reason behind the pileup: people from surrounding areas dumping their garbage here. Hudson says the county is in the process of replacing these convenient sites with a long term solution.
"Hopefully we'll soon have legal clearance to go to the permanent, fenced, manned sites," Hudson said. "We anticipate that there will be at least five of them in addition to the one site now on Fairmont Road."
But until then, she says the trash should be picked up three times a week and county workers will clean up the sites. It is a temporary solution to a stinky situation.
County leaders hope to get the go ahead to start working on those permanent dump sites soon, but until then Hudson is asking the community to be patient.