ROCKINGHAM — Two members of Duke Energy’s recreation team went to the Blewett Falls Dam area Friday to assess the situation regarding piles of garbage which were publicized on Facebook by a Richmond County resident the day before.
“While there was some obvious trash from general use, the bulk of the trash appears to be illegal dumping of household trash,” Kim Crawford, a corporate spokesperson, said in an email Friday.
The turnaround area at the very end of Blewett Falls Road, near the hydroelectric dam, is on Duke property but is not a formal or informal recreation area, according to Crawford.
“A contractor in the Blewett Falls area is used for periodic maintenance, including litter control,” she continued. “Our team plans to review the situation to see if there is a need for increased management of the site.”
Allison Sweatt, known for her animal advocacy in Richmond County, posted photos and a video on her Facebook page Thursday morning when she went down “to be with nature,” and saw all the trash.
“This is sad,” she said at the beginning of the video, which showed beer and soda bottles — both plastic and glass — and various other detritus strewn along the ground.
Sweatt also remarked how there weren’t any trash cans in the area.
“The lake services representative said there is often a tendency for people to dump more household waste when there are trash receptacles present, so not all unimproved sites currently have receptacles,” Crawford told the Daily Journal Thursday.
Within several hours of her posts, Sweatt had spoken with County Manager Rick Sago, who said the county would help with the cleanup Sweatt scheduled for Wednesday at 10 a.m.
Kenneth Robinette, chairman of the Richmond County Board of Commissioners, said Thursday night that he would personally help with the cleanup, including providing water and food for volunteers.
Sweatt created a Facebook event page for “Cleaning up trash and debris left behind by careless visitors,” but so far, only one other person has signed up to help, and three people chiming in that they were interested.
One of those is Katie Hartgrove, who helped organize a similar cleanup earlier this year along Hitchcock Creek after ‘a wall of trash’ had collected near the Cascades plant on Midway Road.
Volunteers from the city, local businesses and other residents cleaned up at that site and one near von Drehle in Cordova.
Reach William R. Toler at 910-817-2675 and follow him on Twitter @William_r_toler.