Illegal dumping is trashing the Black River - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Butler County, MO

Illegal dumping is trashing the Black River

Illegal dumping is trashing the Black River
By: CJ Cassidy

Butler County, MO - How would you feel if someone dumped trash on you?

It's a problem folks who live along the Black River in Butler County have struggled with for years.

Now, after watching the trash collect along their riverbanks, they say enough is enough.

Folks who live along the Black River say it once used to be a place tourists would flock to swim in and enjoy the crystal clear waters.

Today that's all a distant memory thanks to illegal dump sites like this one.

Brenda Powell and her husband, Richard, spend much of their married life picking up other people's trash.

The couple say illegal dump sites pose some very serious problems.

"If we don't get this trash stopped in about ten years it's going to be a ditch. There's just so much trash you can't keep up. You come out here pick all this stuff up, but the next day it's right back," Brenda Powell says.

The Powells, who are part of a group of volunteers called the Black River Stream Team, say they've seen just about everything in the murky waters.

"We got household trash, TVs, cars, you name it it's in here," Powell says.

And then there's refrigerators, couches, kid's bicycles, even computers.

So who's responsible for cleaning up the mess, besides the volunteers?

That's an issue residents say is about as clear as the muddy waters of the Black River.

"I wish they'd pass a law if you throw trash out you can pick it up and throw it back out out on the lawns of the people who do it," Bill Vinson who lives along the river says.

"Gas is so high we don't have the manpower or the boats. We need everything," Brenda Powell says.

While the Powells plan to continue with their work, they say their future as a volunteer group maybe as bleak as the future of the Black River.

The Army Corps of Engineers and other state and county authorities say they don't assume responsibility for the clean up of the river.

Police say anyone caught dumping illegal matter will be heavily fined and could even face jail time.

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