Line of trash leads to Nevada County’s transfer station, resident says
The natural beauty and serenity of the countryside along McCourtney Road is being ruined by cars and trucks en route to the Nevada County’s trash transfer station, spilling their loads and dumping trash and garbage, a homeowner says.
“People put their garbage cans in their trucks and take them to the dump, but they don’t secure the lids,” said Jon Scadden, who lives off McCourtney Road. “The lids pop off and the garbage spills out, and by then, it’s too late.”
Scadden, who owns a semiconductor fabrication company, said the problem seems to be increasing in recent months. Four or five years ago, Scadden successfully petitioned the Nevada County Board of Supervisors to raise the penalties for spilling trash from $10 up to $100 for a first offense and as much as $500 for multiple offenses.
There was a lot of publicity at the time and things improved, but since then, he said, people seem to have forgotten about it.
“It’s not Waste Management’s fault — it’s only their fault, if they don’t pick it up,” said Scadden, referring to the county trash management contractor at the transfer station. “We need to go after the root cause — uncovered loads.”
Waste Management also does weekly trash pickups along McCourtney — although Scadden said it seemed that once a week was not enough.
Steve Castleberry, director of public works for Nevada County, said he has noticed a rise in customers at the transfer station. He sent out a briefing two weeks ago in the weekly Nevada County Friday Memo reminding people to cover their loads.
“Over the past two months, the number of customers at the McCourtney Road Transfer Station has reached its highest level since 2008,” Castleberry said. “Increasing transfer station usage is likely the result of a strengthening economy in Nevada County.”
Castleberry went on to outline protocols at the station.
“In addition, it is important for McCourtney Road customers to cover their loads on the way to the transfer station,” he added. “County and state law set fines of up to $1,000 for spilling trash on roadways.
“Law enforcement will be targeting McCourtney Road for littering enforcement over the next several months,” he said.
In response to phone calls from Scadden, both the California Highway Patrol and the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office have stepped up enforcement of county and state laws prohibiting spilling of trash or debris on the roadways.
CHP Grass Valley public information officer Greg Tassone said he has routed Scadden’s complaint to the patrol staff, where it is being processed as a traffic complaint.
That means that patrols — especially those on McCourtney Road — will increase their surveillance of trucks en route to the transfer station to make sure the loads are secure. If there is spillage, officers could write a ticket, which would be sent to Nevada County Superior Court traffic court clerk’s office for processing — either as a county ordinance violation or a state code violation.
“California Vehicle Clode doesn’t allow you to drop anything on the highway, except for things like feathers or water or bits of hay,” Tassone said. “Anything else is a violation with a hefty fine of up to $1,000.”
The county Sheriff’s Office has also stepped up enforcement and surveillance, according to Castleberry.
“Last time I went out to the transfer station, there was a sheriff’s patrol car parked there at the entrance to watch people as they came in,” he said. Castleberry said he would consider possibly doing flyers again to hand out at the transfer station, offering informational material on covering and securing loads.
“We did post three to five signs out there around the county notifying people about the ordinance and the fines,” he said, referring to signs posted during Scadden’s last campaign four or five years ago.
At the time, Scadden told supervisors that the trash was so bad that “if you want to find the transfer station, just follow the garbage,” he was quoted in The Union as saying.
But despite the county ordinance and the state code, Scadden said he doubted whether any fines had ever been imposed. He said he just wants to shine a new light on the issue.
“It’s a nice place to live,” said Scadden, who moved to Nevada County 15 years ago from the Bay Area. “We’d like to keep it that way.”
To contact Staff Writer Keri Brenner, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4239.
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