Updated ordinance aims to clean up neighborhoods near landfill

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ROCKFORD (WREX) — Residents who live near the Winnebago Landfill say they’ve seen trash on the road and gravel in the streets, but the Winnebago County Board is set to discuss a new ordinance to put a stop to that.

There are 14,000 tons of trash trucked in to the Winnebago Landfill every day. Justin Zaugg, who lives near the landfill, says based on his research, that makes the landfill the biggest and busiest in the nation.

“A normal local dump [hauls in] 2,500 tons per day,” Zaugg says.

The big problem though is not all of that trash ends up in the actual landfill.

“There’s litter on our interstate and our adjoining roadways to the landfill,” concerned resident David DeBlauw says.

Trash has found its way into neighborhoods like Zaugg’s and DeBlauw’s, which is roughly two miles from the landfill.

Winnebago County Board Chairman Frank Haney says the Board is aware of the issues surrounding the dump and is on its way to fixing it.

“There is going to be an ordinance related to waste haulers that are driving in and out of the local landfill,” Chairman Haney explained. “Too many trucks are not properly tarped and you’re seeing this trash flying off these trucks that are on their way into the landfill. The trash that is intended to be dumped into the landfill isn’t even making it there and that’s a big problem.”

We reached out to the Winnebago County Health Department’s Public Health Administrator Dr. Sandra Martell. In a statement, she said:

“The revisions to the Waste Haulers Ordinance modernize Winnebago County code to ensure that all commercial vehicles that haul garbage to the Winnebago Landfill are inspected and permitted to minimize the potential for garbage to be discharged in the community. It also eliminates language that existed prior to the establishment of the EPA.”

We told DeBlauw and Zaugg about the potential passage of this new ordinance and this is what DeBlauw had to say:

“I’m sure that’s good that they’re doing that, but they should’ve been doing it all along.”

Zaugg also pointed out the other problem having an impact on the local neighborhood roads.

“On rainy days, they’re (the trucks) tracking all this mud and gravel out onto our actual public roadway and, to me, I find it hard to believe that the state and the county haven’t done anything about that,” Zaugg says.

Zaugg says there’s a simple solution.

“Put in a wash pit,” Zaugg exclaimed. “These trucks should be driving through wash pits before they hit the roads.”

County leaders are hoping to find a new solution for an old problem.

13 News reached out to representatives for the Winnebago Landfill for comment on the potential ordinance. They have not gotten back to us.

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