Comanche County_Every year Comanche County has a problem with people dumping their old trash and yard waste on private property, leaving property owners to clean it up themselves. County residents are finding piles of junk - mattresses, old car parts, tree limbs, etc. - and residents say that although it's happening beyond city limits, to them it's the same as someone throwing trash on your front lawn. One of the most popular places big junk such as refrigerators, and other old appliances, get dumped is on east Bishop Road. However, people are also dumping their junk along roads all over the county, and it has residents living on that land rather peeved.
In all of his years farming south of Lawton, Joe McMahan has seen more trash dumped on his property than he has actually hauled to the landfill. He says that many mornings he has come to work to find trash blocking the gate to his field, forcing he and his crew to clear the junk before they can even start their day. "We're about 60 days away from planting wheat again, and we've need to be getting these wheat fields ready to go," he said. "We've got hay to be putting up and moving around, and it's just, we've got better things to do than pick up somebody's trash!"
The Lawton landfill is free to all Lawton residents, but McMahan says that the trash is always dumped at night, after the landfill closes. "Luckily, I guess, the county has a deal with the city where we can go in and tell them, 'This is something we picked up on the side of the county road, they dumped it in our gate,'" said McMahon. "So they don't charge me for the dumping usually, so that helps. Because if I had to pay for dumping then I'd be 10 times as mad, because it's not my trash!"
There are environmental dangers, too. People are dumping trash into area creeks - and, they're throwing out big appliances, some of which can hold toxic material. McMahan says that he and his neighbors have seen everything dumped - including the kitchen sink. He says he's seen wheels and tires, propane bottles, car dashboards, lawnmowers, air conditioners, loveseats, recliners, refrigerators, washers and dryers - all manner of junk.
Even though much of the waste is thrown in the creek, McMahan says that last year it all ended up on his property anyway. "After the flood we picked up all kinds of stuff that washed out of it," he said. "It came out of the creek where people had thrown it in there."
The Comanche County Sheriff's Department says that they are investigating all cases of dumping on county grounds, and Sheriff Kenny Stradley says he will press charges if a perpetrator is caught.
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