City opens investigation into overflowing Hattiesburg Dumpster

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - It's a Dumpster that's almost perpetually overloaded. Wednesday it was teeming with garbage; the rank smell of the Plantation Place Apartments Dumpster carrying over a fence to infiltrate the apartment complex next door.

"The trash is blowing over here, the tenants here are complaining about the roaches and the rats they see running across there," said Dale Usry, maintenance man at the neighboring Towns Villa Apartments.

But it's not an easy fix. WastePro truck drivers even going out of their way servicing this one Dumpster.

"Sometimes we'd have the extra bags right outside the dumpster, the driver would get out and do whatever he needs to do to clean up that area but as it's known right now, it's just gotten out of hand," said WastePro division manager Reggie Collier.

The company picks up on schedule, fulfilling their contract to the dumpster owner - Arthur Leon Eaton.

"I've even paid a couple of times people to go down and pick trash up and throw it in the dumpsters and clean up," said Eaton.

Eaton owns one building that contains four apartments, and his dumpster is plenty spacious for his resident's trash bags. But there are too few Dumpsters in the complex, so tenants of other buildings are throwing garbage bags into his.

"But now it's gotten so bad and it's a repeat cycle and someone needs to address the problem and get into the root cause of the problem," said Eaton.

Most of the buildings at the large Plantation Place complex are owned by all different owners - and it appears that some of the landlords may be avoiding the garbage fee by not putting in a Dumpster, leaving their tenants to free ride on Eaton's.

"When we have a nuisance like this, code enforcement would come out and look at the offense and see if it's something that needs to be cited, which we have," said Department of Public Works General Manager John Brown.

The city has launched an investigation and will likely call all of the building owners into court, a roll call to see who's trash is going in another one's trash bin.

"The judge will impose a fine. Usually as a normal fine you see $500 or up to $1000, usually something like that," said Brown. "But in this case, the judge can actually set the fine for it, so we want to be aggressive about it."