Spring cleaning afoot in Florence; County expected to change litter code

BY GAVIN JACKSON Morning News | gavinjackson@florencenews.com | Posted Sunday March 22, 2015 

Empty beer bottles float in a flooded ditch outside of Scranton in Florence County on March 20, 2015. County County is poised to toughen its litter laws next month on the recommendation of one of its committees that met for the second time this year on Thursday. Some fines will more than double and officials will have stronger prosecution authority in some cases.

FLORENCE, S.C. – Spring is in bloom and soon green foliage will hide most of the county’s litter problem that the bareness of winter annually reveals. But while some litter will be out of sight, it won’t be out of mind. Leaders say Florence County is plagued by litter problems and now the Florence County Council is cleaning up its code to increase punishments and coordinate more cleanup efforts.

The following text is an excerpt, the full article which can be found on the FLORENCE MORNING NEWS website at http://www.scnow.com or by clicking on the image above.

County residents have few options when it comes to trash disposal. Contract with a trash collection service, take it to one of 15 drop-off sites or burn it. Some opt to illegally dump their refuse on back country roads where no one will catch them but many will see the results for months afterward. Mumford said countywide collection could be possible in the future, but that’s still unknown. For Herbie Christmas, an environmental services officer with the county, litter is a problem that residents need to get proactive about and one he’s been fighting for 29 years. In fact, litter fines have remained the same, at $200, since the start of his career. “Our county, we definitely have problems without a doubt,” Christmas said. “But all these things we’ve been doing for years has definitely helped tremendously if you comparatively look at other counties.”

The proposed county ordinance, which has strong committee support, has fines that mirror state maximums. First- and second-time misdemeanor offenders convicted of littering less than 15 pounds would be hit with a $200 fine or 30 days in prison. Third-time and subsequent offenders would be fined $500 with the same possible jail time. The court must also impose eight hours of litter gathering for first offenders, 16 hours for second offenders and 24 hours for third offenders. Any offender who exceeded 15 pounds of litter could be hit with fines no less than $200, but only up to $500 or imprisoned for up to 90 days and up to 100 hours of community service. Additional hours ordered by the court could be adjusted to a fine of $5 an hour sentenced. Furthermore, if a person’s name was found on the litter recovered by authorities the county could win a conviction on that evidence alone. It’s good news for Christmas, but still just a small part. “Picking it up is not the answer; writing tickets is not the answer,” Christmas said. “It’s about educating people.”

Michelle Bailey, chairwoman of Keep Florence Beautiful, couldn’t attend the Thursday meeting, but is encouraged by council actions to become more active in the cause her group has spearheaded for years. “I think the county coming on board with litter control will help definitely,” Bailey said. “People are busy and really rely on the city and county to keep the community clean, but what they don’t understand is that we need to be more vested and play more of a part.”

“I really hope it opens up new partnerships with Keep Florence Beautiful,” Bailey said. We have adopt a spot, adopt a street program within the city and we’re looking to grow that in the county. We have the Great American Cleanup and are in the school systems and even paying for some of the recycling initiatives going on, like at Wilson High School.”

The county will be pursuing grants through Palmetto Pride that Florence County Sheriff Kenney Boone said will increase awareness and education efforts. Bailey welcomes the additional educational outreach opportunities as well.  The proposed ordinance could be introduced at the April County Council meeting and could be in place by June. Read more, including the full text of this article online at SCNOW.com 

KFB River Sweep

Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014, 9am
West Florence High School / Florence ‘Rail Trail’ area

Beach Sweep / River Sweep—organized by S.C. Sea Grant Consortium in partnership with S.C. Department of Natural Resources—is the largest one-day litter cleanup of South Carolina’s beaches and waterways. Every third Saturday in September thousands of South Carolinians volunteer to clear trash from our beaches, rivers, lakes, marshes, and swamps.

About
Beach Sweep/River Sweep is an annual event for South Carolina since 1988 and is held in conjunction with The Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup, which involves several hundred- thousand volunteers in over 75 nations.

This year KFB and our volunteers will meet behind West Florence High School in the back parking lot (near the Florence ‘Rail Trail’) to clean up the swamp area behind the school. Closed-toe shoes and insect repellent are recommended. Gloves and trash bags will be provided. For more information contact site captain Terasa Lott or visit the River Sweep page on the S.C. Department of Natural Resources website at http://www.dnr.sc.gov/bsrs/

Volunteer for the KFB River Sweep
Would you like to be a part of this year’s Beach Sweep/River Sweep? Anyone can participate, including businesses, civic clubs, recreation clubs, individuals, families, school groups, church groups, and youth groups. Volunteers select any river, lake, swamp, beach, creek, or marsh area they wish to clean. Click here to volunteer for this event and help be a solution to pollution!

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KFB Launches Pet Waste Outreach Campaign

Clean Water, Clean Yards, Clean Shoes Logo

Keep Florence Beautiful is about to tackle a different form of litter in the community: pet waste.  Funded in part by a grant from PalmettoPride, the “Clean Water, Clean Yards, Clean Shoes” campaign seeks to educate citizens about the negative impacts of pet waste. “The ultimate goal of the project is to increase the number of people picking up after their pets,” said KFB Board Chair Michelle Bailey.

Pet waste is unattractive and has a certain “yuck” factor that deters people from using public spaces. Pet waste also contains bacteria, viruses, and parasites that may be transported to local waterways during rain events which could lead to illness in pets or humans that ingest the water. “It’s a bigger problem than people realize,” Bailey said. “In Florence County alone, it is estimated that more than 2.8 tons of pet waste are left on the ground each day.”

In an effort to promote proper disposal of pet waste disposal, 15 pet waste stations are available to homeowners associations, neighborhood associations, and public parks through an application process. Organizations interested in receiving a pet waste station should complete the application/agreement form.

In addition to the pet waste stations, portable pet waste dispensers along with an educational brochure from the Florence Darlington Stormwater Consortium have been provided to the Florence Area Humane Society. “We feel like education is key to getting people to pick up after their pets. The Consortium brochures do a great job of explaining the relationship between pet waste and water quality and the portable bag dispensers make picking up after your pet convenient.”

Pet Waste Bag Dispenser

Five Points Beautification Project

Five Points Median Chosen For Beautification Project

The median in front of the Sav-Way convenient store and gas station will soon get a much needed makeover.  Spearheaded by Keep Florence Beautiful, the beautification project is underway. The median is owned by Rainwater Gas & Oil, leased by Chase Oil and Adams Outdoor Advertising has the easement rights to the property.  This is the first time Keep Florence Beautiful has had the pleasure of working with 3 companies at once, but they have all been very supportive of the project.

Funded by a Keep South Carolina Beautiful Affiliate Grant awarded by Palmetto Pride, cleanup efforts to remove overgrown vegetation are already underway with completion expected by the end of October.  The original plans for the project called for a complete overhaul of the median including concrete work.  “Unfortunately, we only received partial funding from PalmettoPride which meant we had to eliminate the concrete work.  The new plants and mulch will still be a vast improvement and perhaps one day we will be able to re-visit the possibility of improving the concrete around the area.” said KFB Board Chair Michelle Bailey.

The group chose the site because it is such a high traffic area.  “5 Points is a high traffic area which provides access to I-20 and I-95.  We are really excited to have a project which will be viewed by so many people on a daily basis.”

Volunteers: Volunteers are needed to help install plants and spread mulch.  For more information on how to get involved, visit www.keepflorencebeautiful.org.

 

Media Contact: Michelle Bailey, Chair Keep Florence Beautiful 843.206.3205

michelle@keepflorencebeautiful.org www.keepflorencebeautiful.org

5 Points Beautification Project

Five Points Median Chosen For Beautification Project

The median in front of the Sav-Way convenient store and gas station will soon get a much needed makeover.  Spearheaded by Keep Florence Beautiful, the beautification project is underway. The median is owned by Rainwater Gas & Oil, leased by Chase Oil and Adams Outdoor Advertising has the easement rights to the property.  This is the first time Keep Florence Beautiful has had the pleasure of working with 3 companies at once, but they have all been very supportive of the project. 

Funded by a Keep South Carolina Beautiful Affiliate Grant awarded by Palmetto Pride, cleanup efforts to remove overgrown vegetation are already underway with completion expected by the end of October.  The original plans for the project called for a complete overhaul of the median including concrete work.  “Unfortunately, we only received partial funding from PalmettoPride which meant we had to eliminate the concrete work.  The new plants and mulch will still be a vast improvement and perhaps one day we will be able to re-visit the possibility of improving the concrete around the area.” said KFB Board Chair Michelle Bailey. 

The group chose the site because it is such a high traffic area.  “5 Points is a high traffic area which provides access to I-20 and I-95.  We are really excited to have a project which will be viewed by so many people on a daily basis.”  

Volunteers: Volunteers are needed to help install plants and spread mulch.  For more information on how to get involved, visit www.keepflorencebeautiful.org.

 

Media Contact: Michelle Bailey, Chair Keep Florence Beautiful 843.206.3205

michelle@keepflorencebeautiful.org www.keepflorencebeautiful.org

Volunteers Needed for River Sweep

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Join us on Saturday, September 21 for the South Carolina’s annual Beach Sweep/River Sweep.  Keep Florence Beautiful and the Florence Darlington Stormwater Consortium are once again cleaning at Jeffries Creek Park in Florence.  Volunteers should meet at 9:00 AM at the parking lot on DeBerry Blvd.  Closed-toe shoes and insect repellent are recommended.  Gloves and trash bags will be provided.  For more information or to sign up, contact Terasa Young.  Help be a solution to pollution!

Hazardous Household Waste Collection

Spring cleaning season is upon us !!!

The Florence County Local Emergency Planning Committee would like to encourage you to dispose of your waste in a safe and environmentally friendly way by hosting two hazardous household waste collection events.

April 13 in the old Wal-Mart Parking Lot on Kelley Street in Lake City.
April 20 in the old Winn-Dixie parking lot on Irby Street in Florence.

Both events will be open from 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM.

Hazardous household waste include: oil based paints, gasoline, mercury containing items, outdated medicine, and pesticides. For more information, contact 843-665-7255. Thanks for putting toxic waste in its place!

HHW FLYER Florence 2013
View the Event Flyer

EVENT REMINDER:  Great American Cleanup March 23rd in Timrod Park…read more about this event .

2013 Great American Cleanup

JOIN THE EVENT!

Click on the links below:

> DOWNLOAD THE AUTHORIZATION FORM

> DOWNLOAD THE GREAT AMERICAN CLEANUP FLYER

> DOWNLOAD THE OVERALL EVENT FLYER

Keep Florence Beautiful Supports Great American Cleanup

Saturday, March 23, 2013
Timrod Park
8AM – 12:30 PM

The Great American Cleanup will be held Saturday, March 23, 2013. Volunteers will be cleaning their designated areas of the community then meeting at Timrod Park in Florence, where teams turn in their clean up reports and enjoy a free lunch provided by Keep Florence Beautiful and its sponsors’…read more

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