ELKINS - The Randolph County Solid Waste Authority held a meeting Thursday to discuss laws governing litter control and mandatory trash collection and disposal.
Randolph County Solid Waste Authority Chairman Clark Martin welcomed in two featured speakers - West Virginia Solid Waste Authority Environmental Resources Specialist Carol Ann Throckmorton and Monongalia County Commission Litter Control Officer Anthony "Jambie" Giambrone.
"What better way to learn about these laws than to go straight to the source," Martin said.
The main discussion centered around the laws governing mandatory proper trash disposal. West Virginia code mandates that each household or business properly dispose of trash in one of only two ways.
The first way is to subscribe to, pay for and use a garbage hauler service. The second option is to provide proof that you have properly disposed of your garbage at an approved solid waste facility every 30 days. If you choose option two, you must save your receipts from the solid waste facility. Landfills are required to host a "free day" to help those who are unable to afford trash disposal services.
Throckmorton said these laws are the same across all 55 counties in West Virginia.
"I have watched these laws change, strengthen really," she said. "The one thing that is consistent is the law across all 55 counties."
State code also gives each county the option of having a litter control officer in there area. West Virginia code gives each individual county commission the authority to designate an agency to enforce the ordinances of that county. One section of the code also authorizes the county litter officers to enforce laws relating to litter, open dumps, and proof of proper solid waste disposal.
A litter control officer does not have the authority to pull over a vehicle but can ticket people once they have been stopped for littering. They also also leave a notice of violation for anyone that is caught dumping, burning or unlawfully disposing of garbage in any way.
Giambrone discussed his experiences as a litter control officer.
"This can be very dangerous," he said. "But the sheriffs and state police have always had my back and they have been very good."
Any individual wishing to do so, can enroll in the online West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection Litter Control Officer course. It is free to the public and you will be placed on a list that shows you successfully completed the course.
Thorockmorton wound down the meeting by discussing the importance of getting information out as people don't always know that they are not following the laws.
"You need to get the word out on what the law is," she said. "Everyone here loves their county, loves their communities and wants it to be clean."
Approximately 20 people were in attendance for the meeting; they included the mayor, county magistrates, DNR officers, trash haulers, Randolph County commission members, sheriff's deputies and officials from neighboring counties.