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Mercer County hires officer to tackle trash problem

Bluefield Daily Telegraph photo by Eric DiNovo This large illegal dump is located along Glendale Avenue in Bluefield.
Bluefield Daily Telegraph photo by Eric DiNovo
This large illegal dump is located along Glendale Avenue in Bluefield.

PRINCETON, W.Va. — Litter Control Officer Greg Reed spends his days combating one of Mercer County’s most visible problems: Garbage. The Mercer County Commission hired Reed in March to handle the increasing litter problem in the county. “Basically, what I’m doing, is enforcing littering ordinances and laws or finding people who are littering or creating open dumps around creek beds or over the sides of hills or embankments,” Reed said. “Any law enforcement agency can enforce the law I’m enforcing, but you take the deputies or the state police, they’ve got so many other calls which probably have a higher priority.” Reed said he tries to pick up the calls law enforcement doesn’t have time to handle. “The County Commission office was getting a lot of phone calls about trash and litter complaints,” Reed said. “I guess they did a little research and checked around. Raleigh county has had one in place for a couple years. McDowell county has had one in place. They did some talking and decided it was time to get one.” Reed said there is a definite problem with litter in Mercer County, but many areas experiencing the litter problem are not easily accessible or immediately noticeable by the public. “It’s not like you’re going down the interstate and you see it,” Reed said. “People are just taking truck-loads of trash and just throwing it out. animals are getting into it, the wind is blowing it around and it’s getting on other people’s property.” Reed said he doesn’t immediately cite the owner of private property whose land has litter on it. “If it’s their own property and their house, I’ll give them a notice of violation and give them two weeks, sometimes four weeks, just to clean it up and there are not citations issued,” Reed said. “Ninety-nine percent of the time it’s cleaned up. If I find trash on the side of the road and I find names and address in it, I’ll track them down…

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