LESTER, Ala. - A viewer contacted us about what she thought might be an illegal dump site near her home. It's road debris, asphalt and concrete, from a nearby road construction project in Limestone County. But it raises the question, is it pollution or politics?
It starts up here on the road and goes down the embankment and into a small creek. This is Sugar Creek Road, just off Persimmon Tree Road in rural Northwest Limestone County. It's a dirt road, seldom traveled by anyone, but here's this debris. So we contacted District 4 County Commissioner Ben Harrison, and he told us he's responsible for it being there.
“No, it's been done for decades. It's unregulated material, I checked with the Alabama Department of Environmental Management,” Harrison explained.
Harrison says they've done this in a number of areas across the county to prevent culverts from washing out. You can see where the dirt has started to wash away back towards the road. He believes the only reason we were contacted in the first place is because of his upcoming run-off election.
“This is just a political stunt, try to get negative social media against me, and it's perfectly legal. it's fine," Harrison says.
Harrison says this is the most cost-effective way he knows of to deal with some of the wash outs of these county roads. He says it's other people who are trying to make it a political issue.
WHNT News 19 contacted Harrison's political opponent in the upcoming run-off election. Bill Daws declined to comment for this story.
We also reached out to the Alabama Department of Environmental Management to make certain there were no environmental issues. They are researching the question and plan to visit the site to formally investigate.