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South Congaree Mayor Cindy Campbell says commercial haulers are helping trash their streets

South Congaree, SC - 4/12/2021 (Paul Kirby) – South Congaree Mayor Cindy Campbell takes littering along the streets of the town personally. Since being elected in 2020, she’s joined groups of volunteers numerous times to help clean up the town picking up tons of trash along the roads in the process. To her, it’s extremely frustrating when in just a short time, it has to be done again.

Because of her passion, it made her angry last Friday when she passed a commercial garbage hauler coming into South Congaree from the Cayce - West Columbia area. As she drove, she spotted two bags of garbage riding atop instead of inside the truck. Knowing that this truck was headed straight through the town to the county’s transfer station in Edmund, she also knew there was a good chance that this garbage would find itself alongside the town’s streets contributing to the litter problem. As the mayor of the town and a concerned citizen, she’s fed up with the trashy streets. Friday, she picked up her phone and called the police.

South Congaree Police Chief Josh Shumpert is no stranger to this type of situation. As the town is on the direct route to the landfill, he and his officers have dealt with commercial trucks or personal individuals losing their trash many times before. Even though there’s a law that says all loads, even in the back of your personal pickup or trailer, must be tarped, people often ignore this. The end results are that lots of litter ends up alongside the roads, not at the dump. In fact, just a short time before Mayor Campbell saw the trash on the top of the truck, Chief Shumpert had already dealt with a commercial garbage service that lost several bags of garbage. Those burst open in the road and trash was scattered everywhere. To him, this is totally unacceptable and preventable.

Friday, when Chief Shumpert got the call from the mayor, he was in a position to intercept the trash truck with the bags on top. He jumped in his truck, took a position along Main Street, and when he saw the vehicle, he activated his lights and pulled it over. As a part of the process of dealing with the driver, he snapped a picture of the two bags on top of the truck the mayor had seen. The question was, how many bags had been there when that truck dumped the can originally? When the driver lifted the dumpster and the bags missed the holding bin, how many landed on top the truck and not in the bin? Was some other city or town having to deal with that? That may never be known.

After the stop, Mayor Campbell said, “This is why South Congaree has such a hard time keeping litter picked up. These people are paid to pick up this trash, we are not.” She knows the citizens of South Congaree take pride in their hometown just like others do but it’s frustrating and difficult when a driver who’s paid to do a job like carry garbage away is so careless. In talking with Chief Shumpert prior to this incident, she knew that drivers are supposed to check for things like this to prevent littering. Clearly in this case, that wasn’t done.

Next Saturday, the town has once again organized a litter pickup event. Deemed Team Up 2 Clean Up, the volunteers will make their way along the town’s streets to gather litter left by others. Afterward, the members of the South Congaree Planning Commission will cook everyone lunch as a way of saying thanks for helping. The one lingering question is, when will it stop being necessary to do this so regularly. For South Congaree’s Mayor Cindy Campbell, right now wouldn’t be too soon!


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