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Illegal Dumping Has Rural Residents On Lookout

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WAKE COUNTY, N.C. — Taking a drive down a rural road could be rough going. That's because many of the roads are trashed - not with food wrappers or cigarettes, but furniture and appliances dumped illegally.

"It really is aggravating," Wake County resident Roger Clark, surveying the trash dumped off a road near his home. "We're talking washing machines, refrigerators, anything you can imagine, and just garbage -- bags, bags and bags of garbage."

Clark has seen it all -- all dumped along the road leading to his home near Falls Lake.

"It's pretty discouraging to put a lot of effort into, you know, our property," he said.

The most disheartening part of this story could be that less two miles away from that illegal dump near Clark's home is a county-run convenience center for disposing of trash properly.

The center is open 7 a.m.- 7 p.m., seven days a week. That's why solid waste inspector Ivan Dickey can't understand why people still dump illegally.

"Any dirt road, vacant property outlaying area throughout the county looks like a good place for it (dumping)," Dickey said.

In Wake County, property owners are responsible for cleaning up junk dumped on their land. The county recommends cutting off access to dirt roads or paths that encourage dumping.

Dickey said he spends much of his time chasing down offenders.

Dickey will send out a warning. He said it's rare to get a conviction because violators need to be caught in the act.

He found that much of the trash comes from rental homes.

"Once people see it's there," he said, "and it's kind of out of sight and out of mind, it grows. There is more and moe stuff brought out there."

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