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Frequent illegal dumping causes stink
Source of trash remains mystery in neighborhood
Liquid spills out of one of the trash bags dumped in front of Belinda Zalinsky’s house in northeast Forsyth. - photo by Jim Dean

Since May, Belinda Zalinsky has been waking up some mornings to find trash bags thrown in her yard, on the street and around her neighborhood near Charleston Park.

“I’m past 50 [times] now,” Zalinsky said. “I quit counting at 50. I stopped.”

The northeast Forsyth resident is frustrated that after more than six months, she’s been unable to find a resolution to the issue of illegal dumping despite reaching out to numerous agencies.

The bags always contain some unidentifiable mixture, and cameras she’s installed show the same white vehicle tossing them out just after 5 a.m. on Mondays or Fridays.

Illegal dumping is a violation of Forsyth County code, and so the code enforcement department will investigate those reports.

The department has received many calls on the issue and has launched an investigation, which remains ongoing, according to county government spokeswoman Jodi Gardner.

“Code enforcement has investigated this thoroughly, including multiple visits to the location and speaking with neighbors in the area,” Gardner said. “Nothing that they’ve found has been identifiable, so they don’t know yet the source.”

The department has also reviewed photographs from the camera, but they were “inconclusive,” she said.

According to the county Web site, residents who believe illegal dumping is occurring should contact the code enforcement department using the online form or calling the office.

“Not only is dumping a code violation, it also lessens property values and creates health hazards,” the site states.

The department’s aim is to get compliance before issuing citations, Gardner said.

Zalinsky is frustrated that she hasn’t seen either occur after several months on Charleston Park Road.

“I’m scratching my head here,” she said. “One of their duties is enforcing, investigating and stopping illegal trash dumping, and they haven’t been doing it.”

The neighbors suspect the trash dumping began at a receptacle in the nearby park on Lake Lanier. When the bin became full, whoever was leaving the trash there decided to throw it along the roads of the wooded neighborhood.

At first, Zalinsky picked up the bags herself, but she became “severely ill” after throwing out about 15.

She contacts the county roads department, which will clean up after reports of trash being left on the side of the road.

The smell, rodents and flies follow the bags, breaking them open and leaving a health hazard behind, she said.

While she’s been told the health department can’t directly do anything to rectify the issue, an employee did send an e-mail to the county code enforcement department.

Law enforcement told her they can only write a citation if someone is caught in the act, Zalinsky said, so she’s continuing her campaign of phone calls to agencies, officials and anyone else who can take legal action.

“If this had been four or five bags over a period of four or five months … you’d move on,” she said. “We’re talking May to Dec. 31 and we’re over 50 bags … I need help getting this done.”