Trash in wetlands at Flying J, Exit 2, I-75 2019-08-23

I must compliment Lowndes County Code Enforcement, the Flying J, Dynamis, and Deep South Sanitation, about this cleanup at the Flying J, Exit 2, I-75, Lake Park, Georgia, about a mile from the GA-FL line.

[Trash in gap]
Trash in gap

On August 23, 2019, I sent this picture and the location to Lowndes County Code Enforcement:

[Still more trash]
Still more trash

Code Enforcement Director Mindy Bates responded within the hour:

We currently have an open investigation at this location and are working with the management at Flying J to bring the property into compliance.

Thank you for bringing it to our attention.

A WWALS member had opened that investigation; I was just checking. I thanked the director.

[Trash behind]
Trash behind

A hurricane looked aimed in our direction; fortunately it didn’t arrive. So I gave it two weeks and asked on September 10th what was the plan.

Once again, Director Bates answered that same day:

Pilot Travel Center/Flying J has hired Dynamis, Inc. to conduct the cleanup of this area. A representative from Dynamis is scheduled to meet with the officer handling the case tomorrow morning to discuss the particulars of the violations and our recommendations to prevent re-occurrence. Clean-up will start in the morning as well. I do not know yet how they plan to proceed but this company specializes in environmental issues so I am confident they are communicating with Pilot Travel to ensure a successful resolution.

I thanked her again.

[Looking east at trash]
Looking east at trash

She added the next day:

Dynamis estimates they will be on-site the remainder of this week and all of next week. Pilot Travel/Flying J is going to considerable expense by having the clean-up done by an environmental services company so I am sure they will take all measures necessary to prevent future problems. They have been very responsive and cooperative throughout this investigation and are very aware of the severity of the issue.

I gave it another week, and went there on September 18th:

[Tires and dumpster]
Tires and dumpster

The man who seemed to be in charge didn’t want to be pictured, but he said they had already hauled off four dumpsters of trash, and many more tires than the ones you can see in this picture.

They had taken down much of the old fence, cleaned up, and put up a temporary fence:

[Greatly improved]
Greatly improved

There was still some trash floating in the water:

[Some trash floating]
Some trash floating

But the shore was much cleaner:

[But not much on shore]
But not much on shore

They said they would rebuild the fence.

[Presumably for more fence]
Presumably for more fence

There is still more of the old fence to take down:

[More to remove]
More to remove

And they hadn’t actually gotten to the spot I originally reported, which seemed to have some added trash.

[Still to do]
Still to do

But the contrast between where they have worked and where they haven’t is pretty striking.

[Contrast]
Contrast

You may wonder as I do, what is this wetland?

[Flying J to Withlacoochee River]
Flying J to Withlacoochee River

It appears to be a skinny retention pond around the Flying J’s property (in the upper right of this map). Where it goes if it overflows is not clear. According to USGS, I-75 is the divide between the Withlacoochee and Alapaha Basins at that point. The closest creek seems to have no name, but flows southwest to join the Withlacoochee River just upstream of Sullivan Launch (in the lower left of the map), in Hamilton County, Florida.

Anyway, I will go back and give it another look, but it appears that we have here a case of Lowndes County Code Enforcement successfully getting a business to clean up, in response to a citizen report.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

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