HomeNewsSheriff’s office addressing litter problem in Madison Co.

Sheriff’s office addressing litter problem in Madison Co.

Litter is a problem in Jackson and Madison County, and Sheriff Julian Wiser is doing his part to make sure the problem is addressed in the county.

Soon after he was sworn in as Sheriff last year, Wiser’s office assumed the oversight of the state litter grant that funded different efforts to combat littering at the local level.

“I wanted to do that because the big reason is we use inmates on the litter crew that picks up the majority of the litter in the county, and a civilian was running the program,” Wiser said. “I didn’t feel comfortable sending inmates in the community without a correctional officer with them, so we just took that entire operation under our responsibility.”

Wiser said since July of 2022, litter crews from the sheriff’s office have picked up more than 100,000 pounds of litter on county roads and in illegal dumping areas.

“Inmates who are part of the litter crew are out there on work release with an ankle bracelet, and when the crew finishes up each day, they do like everyone else and have their trash weighed when they bring it to the dump.”

Sheriff Wiser himself and his leadership team along with a number of deputies have gotten physically involved in the effort as well.

They were involved in a pickup in April in a recycling effort connected with Earth Day. They also went out to Oakfield Road between Old Medina Road and Christmasville Road and picked up litter that day as well as cleaned up Pugh Bourne Park.

“We were picking up the litter on the road and we felt we might as well clean the park up while we’re out there,” Wiser said. “Which the park was already in pretty good shape, but we made sure it was clean before we left.”

They picked up 720 pounds of litter on Oakfield Road that day, which includes a few big items like multiple tires and a mattress.

There are pickup days planned in the future throughout the county with one in Brown’s Church on the eastern edge of the county in July and then going to Mercer on the southwestern edge of the county in August.

Actually picking up litter is one of three parts of the plan to address litter.

The other two are about educating the public about litter.

For instance, every student in Jackson-Madison County Schools will receive a free refillable water bottle during the upcoming school year.

“These water bottles will hopefully cut down on the number of disposable water bottles that are thrown out, but there is also information about littering on the bottles that hopefully the kids will look at and read to learn more about why littering is a problem and how big a problem it is,” Wiser said.

There are other marketing campaigns on billboards and in local media to alert the public to littering, but the third initiative is a more direct form of education for adults.

“There are actual state laws about littering and illegal dumping, and there’s also a law about making sure anything you’re hauling off is secured on your vehicle,” Wiser said. “And there are a number of sanitation waste centers throughout the county, and you can see that there’s a higher amount of litter when you get closer to those sites.

“The reason for that is some people have litter blowing out of their vehicles on the way to these sanitation sites,” Wiser said. “But TCA Code 39-14-507 states that anyone who doesn’t have their garbage reasonably secured and tarped on their vehicle is in violation of state law and could be cited.

“But what we plan to do right now is we’re developing brochures, and if any of our deputies see an unsecured load, we’ll give them a courtesy stop and hand them one of the brochures so they can read more about it.”

Wiser said litter is a problem that’s only getting worse throughout the county, and he hopes that others will follow the department’s example.

“This is a big problem that’s only getting worse, and it will take all of us to solve it,” Wiser said. “And we’re out there trying to set the example, and we hope to get more community partners and non-profit organizations involved in the future pickup days so we can cover more ground.

“And hopefully as areas get clean, our citizens will help by properly disposing of their garbage and now throwing it out or dumping it illegally.”

Wiser said areas with a lot of litter or areas of illegal dumping can be reported by calling 741-423-6005 or sending an e-mail to klbowman@madisoncountytn.gov.

“When I travel to other areas, there’s usually not as much litter as I see here, and that’s a problem,” Wiser said. “Because it makes Madison County look bad, but it’s also not good for the environment when that litter gets into our streams.

“So if you know of any areas that need addressing, please let us know so we can address it.”

Brandon Shields, brandon@jacksonpost.news



  1. It would help if the convenience centers were not so picky about whats dropped off there. If people are told they cant drop it off there,then its probably going on the side of the road somewhere. Sure it might increase the number of loads form the centers, but isnt better than the garbage being dumped on the side of the road? Also it would be good if the landfill made a safer place to dump items there. When you drive across garbage to dump you will get flat tires. I average one flat about every 3 trips I make there. So I can see why most people to do not want to go to the landfill. You can only patch a tire so many times. Bottom line,make it easier for people to dump their garbage and it will be less dumped on the side of the road. And yes I know some will dump on the side of the road anyway.

- Advertisment -

Most Popular

Recent Comments