CALCASIEU PARISH, LA (KPLC) - "Before these centers were open, we got frequent calls for public works crews to assist in cleaning up illegally dumped trash and debris on a regular basis," said Assistant Director of Public Works Theresa Champeaux.
But not anymore. The two solid waste convenience centers are making a big difference in Calcasieu Parish. In fact the inmate litter pick-up teams say trash is becoming more difficult to spot.
"They're saying that it's hard for them to find things now, which is a great thing in this community," said special projects coordinator Jason Barnes. "Now this parish still has a problem with littering. We still have a lot of simple littering, throwing out cigarette butts and everything, but the illegal dumps being on the side of the road, that's really been a huge reduction and it's really in thanks to this convenience center."
The centers accept many types of waste, even recyclable goods. Since opening in December, the scrap metal sold from the center has generated over $30,000 in revenue, providing additional money for upkeep.
"I think they're very important," said Champeaux. "The citizens voted in a tax to build and support these centers, and I believe the ones that use it see a very big benefit from it."
While these convenient centers have put a large dent in illegal dumping in Calcasieu Parish, during certain times of the year, the problem still exists.
"When you get into crawfish season and hunting season," said Barnes. "We still have a very big issue of people taking deer, taking the remains that they don't need and dumping them in ditches and bayous, and you have animal carcasses and all that."
The centers accept wood, vegetation, metal, which means any storm debris from this past weekend can be disposed of at either convenience center location.
"If someone has the ability to take care of the destruction that was wrought in their yard, either vegetative or awnings coming down or fences coming down, and they have the ability to take care of that, they can bring it here and dispose of it, and we'll take it from there," said Champeaux.
The two centers are located on Post Oak Road in Sulphur and Swift Plant Road in Lake Charles.
They're open Thursday through Monday from 5 am to 7 pm.