Limestone County Commission Agrees to Pay $5,500 ADEM Fine for Illegal Dump

LIMESTONE COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) – The Limestone County Commission agreed to pay a $5,500 fine for its role in the illegal dump site off Leggtown Road in Elkmont.

The Alabama Department of Environmental Management fined the commission for “serious violations.”

The commission failed to inspect the L&S Grocery Store, along with two other buildings, before demolishing them.

“We’ve tried to go through everything that ADEM said for us to do and we did agree to the penalty,” said commission chairman Stanley Menefee.

The fine also covers the improper disposal of the debris and likely economic benefit for not following protocol.

“We did do wrong and so any way we did that,” said Menefee. “They could’ve done a lot worse.”

Cleanup of the site was completed last week.

It included transporting the debris to the Morgan County Regional Landfill and resowing the grass on the property.

“Total cost there was $24,769.44,” said Menefee. “In the end results it wouldn’t have cost that much more if we had carried it to the landfill to begin with.”

While the commissioners agreed to pay the fine, their own wallets will not be getting any lighter.

“It was a mistake that was made by the commission and when you do make those mistakes, somebody has to pay and normally you go to the general fund,” said Menefee.

The general fund is comprised of tax dollars.

It typically provides the resources necessary to sustain the commission’s day-to-day activities.

When ADEM receives the signed consent order form from the commission, the public has thirty days to express opinions to ADEM about the penalty.

For a complete breakdown of the fine, click here.

4 comments

  • Nuclear Mike

    Is there anything that a resident of Limestone County can be proud of about their County Commissioners??? Just listen to the attitude and arrogance of the interview.

  • Bill B.

    What the county did was wrong ,without a doubt. It’s comical that ADEM can come in and ding a county for this type of mistake, and let Vulcan get away with anything they want. ADEM is one of the biggest jokes in the state of Alabama. The governor needs to have ADEM audited!!!! The whole organization is a bunch of oxygen thieves!!!!

  • Leggtown

    Thank you WHNT for taking the lead on this story and keeping it in the headlines, you have done a good job exposing the negligence of the Limestone County Commission and helping us getting this cleaned up. The County might think they can sweep this under the rug, but many citizens in Limestone County and Leggtown want answers to why this happened.
    #1 Why do those responsible for this still have a job on the County Commission, why have they not resigned?
    #2 Did the County Commission illegally pay the farmer to dispose of this toxic waste, if so, how much, were tax payer funds used for this illegal activity?
    #3 How did this waste really end up in Leggtown, the story the commission gives makes no sense?
    #4 How did ADEM properly approve a cleanup plan if they don’t know what they are cleaning up, ADEM refused to test the soil, air and water?
    #5 Why were the County workers performing the clean up allowed to work without proper protective equipment if this might have asbestos in it?
    #6 Why should the taxpayers have to pay the fines and cleanup cost for this, the individuals actually responsible should be charged with picking up the tab.
    #7 Who is responsible if the families and children in Leggtown have long term health issues from being exposed to this burning waste?

    In summary, for those not familiar with this endless story, the Limestone County Commission illegally demolished the old L&S shopping center without first legally testing it for asbestos or other hazards. Instead of properly disposing of this waste that contained not just concrete block and treated lumber (and probably asbestos), this dump also contained tons of fiberglass insulation, roofing shingles, chemical cans, plastics and heaps of burnt up electrical waste material including printed circuit boards. To make it worse, they dumped it within feet of Shoal Creek that feeds into the Elk River. Then they were negligent enough to actually let a local farmer set it on fire and burn for weeks. Many people living in Leggtown got very sick from breathing this toxic mess while it was burning, some people actually ended up in the hospital.

    ADEM and the County played bureaucratic games pointing fingers at each other waiting weeks for a cleanup plan. Meanwhile, people in Leggtown continued to breathe these fumes for nearly 6 weeks. On top of that, we had record rain and the creek flooded into this dump and took a lot of toxic waste downstream towards the Elk River.

    An entire small town got sick and ADEM refused repeated requests to test the water, soil or air for us. How did they properly approve a cleanup plan if they don’t even know what you are cleaning up? What were we breathing for weeks that made many of us so ill?

    People in town put up a few signs letting the cleanup crews know this waste was not tested and we don’t know what is really in it. The county covered up these signs so the workers and people could not see them and said they were illegal. Kind of funny considering election signs were sitting next to these signs. From what we can tell, the cleanup crew not wearing any protective gear. Without testing, we have no idea if there’s lead or asbestos or God knows what in that dump, but why in the world would you let your employees clean up something like this without at least wearing respirators and taking some basic precautions for their health?

    I’m extremely concerned families exposed to this may have long term heath issues from breathing these toxic fumes for so long. I’m worried about the families and children that live closest to the burn pile; many have gotten seriously ill.

    The people responsible for this illegal dump should be formally charged and prosecuted. Not only are the good taxpaying citizens of Limestone County on the hook for over $550,000 for this useless building (that’s now an empty lot in the worst part of town), but now we are being forced to pay for the fines and cleanup of this mess on top of that. The $5500 fine from ADEM is a joke and a slap in the face to all of us that had to deal with this mess. The County Commissioners are laughing at all of us, heck they are even arrogant enough to openly compare this to getting a traffic ticket.

    It’s long past time for some national level news source or outside federal agency to come down here and seriously investigate the Limestone County Commission and the people responsible for this disaster and the inaction of ADEM to properly deal with this cleanup. These politicians got local families sick, polluted the water, air and soil and they wasted well over half a million dollars of tax payer money in the process. This entire event has caused enormous amounts of stress and worry to all of us in town. The level of negligence, waste and abuse surrounding this incident is mind-boggling.

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